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A STUDY OF 

HISTORY 



The Royal Institute of International Affairs is 
an unofficial and non-political body, founded in 
1920 to encourage and facilitate the scientific 
study of international questions. 

The Institute, as such, is precluded by its rules 
from expressing an opinion on any aspects of 
international affairs ; opinions expressed in this 
booh are, therefore, purely individual. 



A STUDY OF 

HISTORY 

BY 

ARNOLD J. TOYNBEE 

Director of Studies in the Royal Institute 
of International Affairs 
Research Professor of International History 
in the University of London 
(both on the Sir Daniel Stevenson Foundation ) 



But at my back I always hear 
Time's wingid chariot hurrying near. 

ANDREW MARVELL 

voieiv rt 8 «t is yow yhapov. 

THEOCRITUS: Kmlaxas ’Epars, 1. 7° 

yrjpdonco 8 ' aiel iroAAo 8 t&ao>eo/i«vor. 

SOLON 


My times are in Thy hand. 

Ps. xxxi. is, in the A.V. 


But Thou art the same, and Thy 
years shall have no end. 

Ps. cii. 27 , in the A.V. 

• 1 


VOLUME VIII 


Issued under the auspices of the 
Royal Institute of International Affairs 



OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDONYORK TORONTO 

1954 


r 


I-r > 

: £ (Nev* r 


Oxford University Press, Amen House, London E.C.4 

GLASGOW HEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE WELLINGTON 
BOK«»V CALCUTTA MADRAS KARACHI CATX TOWH IBADAN 

Geoffrey Cumberlege, Publisher to the University 


PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 


r.K ' 

..’»j . .. A\. 

a oc. rc#. 2>Vo . 

D &' '. 

MX- 






CONTENTS 

/VIII. HEROIC AGES 

■CT A. THE GENESIS OF A LIMES 

* J B. A SOCIAL BARRAGE .... 

’'l THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 
I' ‘The Wreckful Siege of Battering Days’ 

\The Impracticability of a Policy of Non-Intercoursc . 

The Barbarians’ Exploitation of their Civilized Neighbours’ Weapons 
The Barbarians’ Exploitation of their Native Terrain 
J The Besieged Civilization’s Inability to Redress the Balance by Re- 
course to Organization and Technique 
The Barbarians’ Military Elusivencss and Economic Parasitism 
The Self-Defeat of a Policy of Setting a Thief to Catch a Thief 

D. THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 
'j* A Reversal of Roles ...... 

The Demoralization of the Barbarian Conquerors 
The Bankruptcy of a Fallen Ci%'ilized Empire’s Barbarian Successor- 
States ....... 

The Restraining Influences of Aidfis, Nemesis, and Hilm 
The Outbreak of an Invincible Criminality . 

The DdbScle of an Ephemeral Barbarian Ascendancy 

E. DICHTUNG UND WAHRHEIT . 

I. A PHANTASY OF HEROISM 


A 

03 


( 

-i 


U. A GENUINE HUMBLE SERVICE .... 

IX. CONTACTS BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS 
SPACE (encounters between contemporaries) 
A. AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 

I. THE SELF-TRANSCENDENCE OF CIVILIZATIONS . 

OF RELIGIONS IN MEBTINGPLACBS OP 


II. BIRTHPLACES 
CIVILIZATIONS 

III. A CLASSIFICATION 
CIVILIZATIONS 


OF TYPES OF CONTACT BETWEEN 


B. A SURVEY OF ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEM 
PORARY CIVILIZATIONS 


12 

12 

*3 

x6 

>9 

2 S 
3i 
39 

45 

45 

46 

50 

53 

59 

64 

73 

73 

81 


IN 


88 


90 


97 


106 



I. A PLAN OF OPERATIONS .... 

II. OPERATIONS ACCORDING TO PLAN 

(fl) ENCOUNTERS WITH THE MODERN WESTERN CIVILIZATION 
i. The Modem West and Russia . 

Russia’s ‘Western Question’ . 

Channels of Western Cultural Radiation into Russia 


106 

126 

126 

126 

126 

128 






vi CONTENTS 

Alternative Russian Responses to the Challenge of Western 
Technology . . . . . .130 

The Race between the West’s Technological Ad vance and Russia’s 
Technological Westernization .... 136 

The Soviet Union’s Encounter with the United States. . 141 

2. The Modem West and the Main Body of Orthodox Christendom . 150 
The Difference between the Ottoman Orthodox Christian and the 

Muscovite Reaction to the West . . . .150 

The Ottoman Greek Orthodox Christian Phobia of the West . 151 

The Defeat of Cyril Loxikaris . . . . . 152 

The Frustration of Evylnios Votilgharis . . . 160 

The Revolution in the Ottoman Orthodox Christians’ Attitude 
towards the West . . . . . .161 

The Revolution in the West’s Attitude towards Orthodox 
Christianity ...... 165 

Channels of Western Cultural Penetration into an Ottoman 
Orthodox Christendom ..... 168 

The Reception of a Modern Western Culture by the Ottoman 
Orthodox Christians and its Political Consequences . . 182 

The Ottoman Millet System of Communal Autonomy. . 184 

The Fiasco of the Phanariots’ 'Great Idea’ . . .187 

The Disruption of an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom by a 

Modem Western Nationalism . . . .189 

Russia’s Competition with the West for the Ex-Ottoman Orthodox 
Christians’ Allegiance . . . . .192 

3. The Modem West and the Hindu World . . .198 

Likenesses and Differences in the Situations of a Hindu Society 

under British Rule and an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom . 198 

The Reception of a Modem Western Culture and its Political 
Consequences ...... 200 

The Gulf between a Hindu and a Post-Christian Western 

Weltanschauung ...... 205 

The Aloofness of a Reformed British Civil Service in India . 207 
The Unsolved Problem of a Rising Pressure of Population . 213 

4. The Modem West and the Islamic World . . .216 

The Encirclement of the Islamic World by the West, Russia, and 

Tibet . . . . . . .216 

The Postponement of the Crisis .... 219 

The Muslim Peoples’ Military Approach to the Western Question 232 
The Salvaging of an Ottoman Society by Selim III, Mehmed 
'All, and Mahm&d II . . . . 239 

The Collapse in Turkey and Egypt at the Beginning of the Last 
Quarter of the Nineteenth Century .... 249 

The Failure of the Arabs to Respond to a Continuing Challenge 
of Western Aggression ..... 257 

The Failure of a Turkish Committee of Union and Progress to 
Maintain the Ottoman Empire . . . .261 

The Success of Mustafi KernSl Atattirk in Creating a Turkish 
National State ...... 263 

Russia’s Competition with the West for an Ascendancy over the 
Islamic World ...... 268 


1 





CONTENTS vii 

5. The Modern West and the fetes . . . .272 

The Peculiarities of the Western Province of a Jewish Diaspora’s 

Domain ....... 272 

The Persecution of the Peninsular Jews under a Visigothic 
Catholic Christian Regime ..... 277 

The Respite for the Peninsular Jews under Andalusian and 
Ottoman Muslim Regimes ..... 280 

The Causes of the Western Christians’ Ill-treatment of the Jews 281 
The Plot of the Jewish Tragedy in a Western Christendom . 285 
A Mirage of Enfranchisement. . . . .286 

The Fate of the European Jews and the Palestinian Arabs, A.D. 

1933-48 . . . . . . .288 

Causes of the Failure of Enfranchisement . . . 292 

Inherent Consequences of the Captivation of the Jews by a 
Modem Western Gentile Nationalism . . . 295 

Inherent Consequences of Zionism’s Departure from a Tradi¬ 
tional Jewish Practice of Political Quietism . . . 298 

The Effects of the First World War on the Destiny of Palestine 301 
Great Britain’s Responsibility for the Catastrophe in Palestine . 303 
Germany’s and the United States’ Responsibility for the Catas¬ 
trophe in Palestine ...... 306 

The Retrospect and the Outlook .... 309 

6. The Modern West and the Far Eastern and Indigenous American 

Civilizations . . . . . . 313 

The Perils of Ignorance . . . . - 3*3 

The Fate and Future of the Indigenous American Civilizations 315 
Chinese and Japanese Reactions to the Impact of an Early Modem 
West . . . . . . .316 

Chinese and Japanese Reactions to the Impact of a Late Modem 

West . . . . . . .324 

The Unsolved Problem of a Rising Pressure of Population . 330 

A Communist Russia’s Chinese Fifth Column. . . 334 

7. Characteristics of the Encounters bctioeen the Modem West and its 

Contemporaries up to Date ..... 337 

(6) ENCOUNTERS WITH MEDIEVAL WESTERN CHRISTENDOM . . 346 

x. The Flow and Ebb of the Crusades .... 346 

2. The Medieval West and the Syriac World . . . 363 

3. The Medieval West and Greek Orthodox Christendom . 375 

4. The Medieval West and Kievan Russia . . . 398 

(c) ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS OF THE FIRST TWO GENERATIONS 403 

x. Encounters with the Post-Alexandrine Hellenic Civilization . 403 
Likenesses and Differences between the Post-Alexandrine Hel¬ 
lenic and the Modem Western Eruption . . . 403 

The Flow and Ebb of Post-Alexandrine Hellenism . . 407 

The Epiphany of Higher Religions . . . .416 

2. Encounters with the Pre-Alexandrine Hellenic Civilization . 418 
The Hellenic Society’s Offensive in the Mediterranean Basin . 418 
The Syriac Society’s Political Consolidation for Self-Defence . 423 
The Achaemenian Empire’s Counter-Offensive . . 430 


viii CONTENTS 

The Aftermath on the Political Plane .... 435 

The Aftermath on the Cultural Plane .... 437 

3. Encounters with the Syriac Civilization . . . 439 

4. Encounters with the Egyptiac Civilization in the Age of 'the New 

Empire’ ....... 447 

5. Tares and Wheat . . . . . - 45 * 

C. THE DRAMA OF ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CON¬ 

TEMPORARIES (STRUCTURE, CHARACTERS, AND 

PLOT). 454 

I. CONCATENATIONS OF ENCOUNTERS .... 454 

n. ROLBS, REACTIONS, AND DENOUEMENTS . . .464 

(a) AGENTS AND REAGENTS ...... 464 

( b ) ALTERNATIVE POSSIBLE REACTIONS ..... 466 

(c) ALTERNATIVE POSSIBLE DENOUEMENTS . . . .476 

D. THE PROCESSES OF RADIATION AND RECEP¬ 

TION .4S1 

I. THE DIFFUSION OF CULTURE ..... 481 

II. THE DIFFRACTION OF CULTURE . . . . -495 

Culture-Patterns and their Instability .... 495 

The Conduciveness of Cultural Disintegration to Cultural Inter¬ 
course ....... 501 

Decomposition through Diffraction .... 508 

Inverse Selection through Transmission . . . 514 

E. THE CONSEQUENCES OF ENCOUNTERS BE¬ 

TWEEN CONTEMPORARIES . . . .522 

I. AFTERMATHS OF UNSUCCESSFUL ASSAULTS . . . 522 

(а) EFFECTS ON THE FORTUNES OF THE ASSAULTED PARTY . . 522 

(б) EFFECTS ON THE FORTUNES OF THE ASSAILANT . . . 527 

II. AFTERMATHS OF SUCCESSFUL ASSAULTS . . . 529 

(а) EFFECTS ON THE BODY SOCIAL ..... 529 

x. Symptoms in the Social Life of the Assailant . . . 529 

2. Symptoms in the Social Life of the Assaulted Party . . 530 

(a) 'One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison’ . . 530 

( 0 ) 'One Thing Leads to Another’ .... 542 

(б) RESPONSES OF THE SOUL ..... 564 

x. Dehumanization ...... 564 

2. Zealotism and Hcrodianism ..... 580 

A Pair of Polar Standpoints ..... 580 
A Survey of Zealot and Hcrodian Reactions . . . 584 

A Meeting of Extremes ..... 610 
The Ineffectiveness of the Zcalot-Herodian Response . . 621 

3. Evangelism ....... 623 





ANNEXES 


CONTENTS 


ix 


VIII C, Annex: The Temporary Halt of the Western Civilization’s Frontier 

in North America at the Edge of the Great Plains . 630 
D, Annex: ‘The Monstrous Regiment of Women’ . . . 651 

E (1), Annex: Optical Illusions in Hesiod’s Vista of History . 664 

IX B (1), Annex : The Relativity of the Unit of Classification to the Object 

of Study . . . . . .667 

B (n) (a) 1, Annex I: The Role of Technological Competition in the 

Westernization of Russia . . . 674 

B (tl) (a) 1, Annex II: The Byzantine Inspiration of the Russian 
Political Ethos 

B (11) (a) 2, Annex I: The Conflict of Cultures in the Soul of Solomd 
B (n) (a) 2, Annex II: The Morea on the Eve of the Uprising of a.d 
1821 .... 

B (11) (a) 3, Annex I: The Peasant Majority of Mankind and th 
Agrarian Policy of the Soviet Union 
B (n) (a) 3, Annex II: Some Historical Clues to the Riddle of Paki 
stan's Future . 

B (11) (a) 4, Annex I: The Ineffectiveness of Panislamism 
B (11) (a) 4, Annex II: The Exploitation of Egypt by Mehmed 'Ali 
B (ll) (a) 5, Annex: Jewish History and the Millet Idea, by Jamc 
Parkes .... 

B (11) (a) 7, Annex: The Weltanschauung of Alexander Herzen 
B (ix) (e) 2, Annex: Sicilian Light on Roman Origins 
C (1), Annex: ‘Asia’ and 'Europe’: Facts and Fantasies 
D (11), Annex: The Mercenary Soldier’s Role as a Cultural Spearhead 

TABLE 


Barbarian War-Bands 


734-5 


zzs & S 

O & ~ O O' B O » - >0 O' 



VIII 

HEROIC AGES 

A. THE GENESIS OF A LIMES 

I N the two preceding Parts of this Study we have been concerned with 
universal states established by would-be saviours arising in the 
Dominant Minority 1 and with universal churches created by the Internal 
Proletariat . 1 Our subject in the present Part is the character of the so- 
called ‘heroic ages’ that arc episodes in the brief lives of barbarian 
war-bands. 

In another context 3 we have already acquainted ourselves with the 
conditions under which such ‘heroic ages’ arc generated. We have seen 
how, when a growing civilization breaks down through the deterioration 
of an attractively creative into an odiously dominant minority, one of the 
effects of this sinister change in the broken-down society’s leadership is 
the estrangement of its former proselytes in the once primitive societies 
round about, which the civilization in its growth stage was influenc¬ 
ing in divers degrees by the effect of its cultural radiation. The ex¬ 
proselytes’ attitude changes from an admiration expressing itself in 
mimesis to a hostility breaking out into warfare; and we have seen 4 that 
this warfare between a disintegrating civilization and its alienated ex¬ 
ternal proletariat may have one or other of two alternative outcomes. 

On a front on which the local terrain offers the aggressive civilization 
the possibility of advancing, at the militant barbarians’ expense, up to 
a ‘natural frontier' in the shape of some unnavigated sea or untraversed 
desert or unsurmounted mountain range, the barbarians, thus caught in 
a confined space and compelled to fight with their backs to the wall, may be 
decisively subjugated or annihilated. But, on fronts where the accidents 
of the terrain do not thus conspire with the prowess and policy of the 
civilization to bring a definitive victory within its grasp, geography is 
apt to militate in the barbarians’ favour; for, where the retreating bar¬ 
barian has open to him, in his rear, an unlimited field of manoeuvre, the 
shifting battle front is bound, sooner or later, to arrive at a line at which 
the aggressive civilization’s military superiority—however great this may 
have been initially, and however much it may have been increased 
through the dearly purchased experience of fratricidal warfare 5 —will be 
neutralized at last by the increasing handicap of the ever lengthening 
distance of the front from the aggressor’s base of operations. 

Along this line, when it is reached, a war of movement will change 
into a static war without having resulted in any military decision; and, 
since both belligerents will still be in the field, the Dominant Minority 
and the External Proletariat will find themselves at this stage in stationary 
positions in which they will be living side by side, as the former creative 

« Part vr. * Pm VII. » In V. v. 194-210. 

4 In V. v. 203-8. * Sec III. iii. 130-1. 

B 2698 . vm B 



2 HEROIC AGES 

minority and its prospective proselytes were living before the breakdown 
of the civilization set them at variance with one another. This semblance 
of a return to a happier previous situation is, however, superficial; for, 
though the military front has now become stationary', the psychological 
relation between the parties on either side of it has not reverted from a 
barren mutual hostility' to the previous creative interplay of attraction 
and mimesis, and there has been no restoration, cither, of the geographi¬ 
cal conditions under which this cultural intercourse once took place. In 
its growth stage the civilization gradually shaded off into a surrounding 
barbarism across a broad threshold which offered the outsider an easy 
access to an inviting vista within. The change from friendship to hostility 
transformed this conductive cultural threshold ( limen ) into an insulating 
military front; and the stabilization of this front, so far from mitigating its 
sharpness, turns out to have severely accentuated it. The fluid front of a 
running warfare is neither so definite nor so impassable a barrier as is 
the military frontier (limes) into which the fluid front crystallizes when the 
stage of stationary warfare is reached . 1 The contrast in configuration 
and character between an original limen -zone and an eventual /jww-line 
is the geographical expression of the conditions that generate an heroic 
age. 

An heroic age is, in fact, the social and psychological consequence of the 
crystallization of a limes, and our purpose in this Part is to trace this 
sequence of events by our customary empirical method of investigation. 
A necessary background to this undertaking is, of course, a survey of 
the barbarian war-bands that had breasted divers sectors of the limites of 
divers universal states during the history of Man in Process of Civiliza¬ 
tion up to date. A survey of this kind has already been attempted in a 
previous Part . 1 In that place a considerable muster of barbarian w r ar- 
bands has been reviewed, and, in passing, we have also there taken note 
of their distinctive achievements in the two fields of sectarian religion 
and epic poetry. In our present inquiry this foregoing survey can be 
drawn upon for purposes of illustration without having to be recapi¬ 
tulated. 

1 See V. v. 208. Ibn Khaldun define* the frontier of an empire as the line at which the 
imperial government’s authority peters out. ‘A dynasty is much more powerful at it* 
seat of government than it is at the extremities of its empire.’ He compares the loss of 
energy in the radiation of its power to the gradual dying away of rays of light streaming 
out from some central point, or of the circular ripples which spread over the surface 
of a piece of water when one strikes it ( Muqaddamdt , translated by de Slane, Baron McG. 
(Pans 1863-8, Imprimerie Imp6rialc, 3 vols.), vol. 1, p. 332). 

* In V. v. 210-337. 



B. A SOCIAL BARRAGE 

I F the cultural limen of a growing civilization is aptly described as the 
hospitable threshold of an ever open door, the military limes of a dis¬ 
integrating civilization can no less aptly be likened to a forbidding 
barrage astride a no longer open valley. A threshold is an unassuming 
piece of work, in which the human architect has been content to take 
advantage of a suitable surface and gradient that have been provided 
for him by Nature; a barrage is the imposing monument of a human 
skill and power that have set Nature at defiance; yet the magnificent 
barrage is as precarious as the humble threshold is secure; for the 
defiance of Nature is a tour de force on which Man cannot venture with 
impunity. 

‘The Arab-Muslim tradition relates that once upon a time there was 
to be seen in the Yaman a colossal work of hydraulic engineering known 
as the dam or dyke of Ma’rib, where the waters descending from the east¬ 
ern mountains of the Yaman collected in an immense reservoir and thence 
irrigated a great tract of country, giving life to an intensive system of 
cultivation and thereby supporting a dense population. After a time, the 
tradition goes on to relate, this dam broke, and in breaking devastated 
everything and cast the inhabitants of the country into a state of such 
dire distress that many tribes were compelled to emigrate.’• 

In the Islamic historical tradition this story—true or legendary—of 
the literal building and breaking of a barrage has served to account for 
the initial impulse behind an Arab Volkerwanderung that eventually 
swept out of the Arabian Peninsula with an impetus which carried it 
across the Tien Shan and the Pyrenees. Translated from this literal 
rendering into a simile, it becomes the story of every limes of every 
universal state. 

‘With the internal condition of the exterior barbarians the [sovereign 
of the universal state] has no concern; but the barrier or pale, whether 
of masonry or of armed men, obviously exerts a pressure of its own. It 
acts effectively as a dam against which weight accumulates, and so creates 
a point of pressure for those outside. In the end the barrier breaks, and 
with the inundation a new situation is created in which new tribal units 
are broken up, new individuals awake to self-assertion, and a new re¬ 
distribution of ownership takes place .’ 1 

Is this social catastrophe of the bursting of a military dam an inevi¬ 
table tragedy or an avoidable one ? If we arc to find the answer to this 
insistent question, we must analyse the social and psychological effects 
of the military barrage-builder's imperious interference with the 
natural course of relations between a civilization and its external prole¬ 
tariat. 

The first effect of erecting a barrage is, of course, to create a reservoir 

1 Caetani, L.: Studi di Storia Orientate, vol. i (Milan iqi r, Hoepli), p. 266. 

1 Tcggart, F. J.: The Procases of History (New Haven, Conn. 1918, Yale Univeraity 
Prew), pp. 97-98. 



4 


HEROIC AGES 

E stream above this artificial obstruction to the normal drainage down 
valley bottom; and this effect is inexorable even if we can imagine it 
to have been unintended and unforeseen. The erection of the barrage 
thus produces a striking differentiation in the physiography of the drain¬ 
age basin which was non-existent in the antecedent state of Nature. The 
intervention of the barrage now transforms the valley immediately 
above it from dry land into a lake with an area that is determined by the 
height of the barrage’s brim. Up to this level the now pent-up waters 
of the catchment basin will fill the upper portion of the valley and its 
lateral ravines, but the resultant reservoir, at its maximum, will have 
only a limited extent. It can never cover more than a fraction even of its 
own catchment basin, since it is beyond the builder’s power to raise a 
barrage, sited far down the valley, to the altitude of the head waters of 
the downflowing streams; and, even if these waters could have been 
dammed back right up to their head, there would still have remained a 
vast unsubmerged hinterland. This new and sharp distinction between 
a now submerged tract immediately above the barrage and a region at 
the back of beyond which is still left high and dry has already come to 
our notice in the social application of our hydrographic simile. 

In a previous context 1 we have observed the contrast between the 
revolutionary effect of a limes on the life of barbarians within point- 
blank range of it and the undisturbed torpidity of primitive peoples in a 
more distant hinterland. The Hypcrboracan Slavs continued placidly to 
lead their primitive life in the secluded Pripct Marshes throughout the 
span of two millennia which first saw the Achaean barbarians convulsed 
by their proximity to the European land-frontier of 'the thalassocracy of 
Minos’ in the basin of the Aegean Sea, and then saw the Teuton barbar¬ 
ians going through the same experience in their turn, some eighteen 
hundred years later, as a result of their proximity to the European land- 
frontier which the Roman Empire drew across the breadth of the 
Continent between the North Sea and the Black Sea . 2 The Achaeans and 
the Teutons were convulsed because they each happened to be en¬ 
gulfed in a reservoir created by the erection of a limes ; the Slavs remained 
undisturbed because, on both occasions, their physically water-logged 
habitat happened to be left culturally high and dry . 3 

1 In II. ii. 315-22. 

J The weakness of this frontier, owing to its inordinate length, has been pointed out 
in V. v. 591-5. _ 

3 This illuminating conception of the contrast between a social ‘reservoir’, whose 
barbarian denizens are decisively affected by the proximity of the limes that has dammed 
back the waters of life, and a more distant hinterland, whose barbarian denizens remain 
‘unregeneratc’ because the social influence of the limes is ineffective at that longer 
range, was first expounded by Owen Lattimore in Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict (New 
York 1932, Macmillan), pp. 36-42. The particular instance that gave Lattimore his in¬ 
sight into this generic feature in the human geography of limites was the classic case of 
the Great Wall of China, and the particular stage in the cycle of frontier history at 
which he first observed and recorded the phenomenon is one at which the 'reservoir 1 
is no longer the undesired menace that it is in the estimation of the /irnei-building 
Imperial Power, but has become the invaluable arcanum imperii of a barbarian successor- 
state of the empire for whose defence the limes was originally constructed. 

The barbarian war-lord from a ‘reservoir’ area who has succeeded in breaking through 
a limes and usurping Caesar’s throne finds himself beset by two anxieties: the conquered 
ex-subjects of the overthrown universal state may revolt against their parvenu bar¬ 
barian masters; and the 'unregeneratc’ barbarians in the more distant hinterland on the 


A SOCIAL BARRAGE 5 

Why arc the barbarians in the ‘reservoir’ area so disturbingly affected 
by the proximity of a military frontier which is at the same time a cultural 
barrage ? And what is the source of a subsequent access of energy which 
has enabled them invariably to break through the limes sooner or later as a 
matter of historical fact, whether this break-through is inevitable or is 
avoidable as a matter of theory? We may find answers to these questions 
if we follow out our simile in terms of its local Sinic geographical setting. 

Let us suppose the imaginary dam that symbolizes a limes in our 
simile to have been built astride some high valley in the region actually 
traversed by the Great Wall within the latter-day Chinese provinces of 
Shensi and Shansi. What is the ultimate source of that formidable body 
of water that we see pressing, in ever increasing volume, upon the dam’s 
up-stream face ? Though this water must all manifestly have come down¬ 
stream from above the dam on the last stage of its journey, the ultimate 
source of the greater part of it cannot lie in this direction; for the distance 
between the dam and the headwaters is not very great, and beyond the 
headwaters there stretches away the boundless Mongolian Plateau, with 
a dry steppe on its rim and a drier desert at its heart. If this parched 
region above the dam had been the sole source of the reservoir’s water- 
supply, the present head of water could never have accumulated; and we 
know, as a matter of fact, that the main source of supply is to be found, 
not above the dam, but below it: not on the Mongolian Plateau but in 
the Pacific Ocean. 

We also know that water cannot perform the salmon’s feat of forcing 
a passage upstream and vaulting over a weir; and this means that not one 
drop of the copious supply that has nevertheless succeeded in making its 
way out of the Pacific into the reservoir can have travelled over the 
ground in liquid form. In order to rise from sea level to the reservoir’s 
altitude this water must have been transformed by the heat of the Sun 
from liquid into vapour, been spirited by an east wind over plain and 
mountain in a volatile cloud, and then been condensed by cold air into 
rain falling into the catchment basin. Through thus first losing its 
liquidity and then regaining it, the migrant water deftly turns an adverse 

farther side of 'the reservoir' may be tempted by the ease and brilliance of the 'reser¬ 
voir' barbarians’ success to emulate their achievement by pouring through the breach 
at their heels and trying to snatch a share in the spoils of a derelict world. In these cir¬ 
cumstances the ruler of a barbarian successor-state in partibus civilium is confronted 
with the dual task of keeping 'unregenerate' barbarian competitors out and keeping 
restive civilized subjects down. For both purposes he relies on the military man-power 
of his comrades who have stayed behind in the reservoir instead of following him through 
the breach; and these intact reserves of an invading war-band are admirably fitted for 
performing both duties, since they have retained enough of their pristine barbarian 
military virtue to be more than a match for a civilized subject population, while they have 
acquired a sufficient tincture of the culture of their civilized neighbours and subjects 
to dc more than a match for their ‘unregenerate’ barbarian neighbours and rivals. 

In Inner Asian Frontiers of China (New York 1940, American Geographical Society), 
pp. 247-5 J, Lattimore has developed this concept of a 'reservoir' zone abutting on the 
outer face of a limes by showing that there is a corresponding zone in the rear of a limes 
in which a sub-society' of frontiersmen differentiates itself, under the influence of the 
immediate proximity of the barbarians, from the main body of the civilization which 
the limes both protects and confines. The frontiersmen of the marches and the bar¬ 
barians of the ’reservoir’ zone tend to approximate culturally to one another and 
eventually to fraternize against both the civilized population of the interior and the 
‘unregenerate’ barbarians in the outer darkness beyond the farther limits of the reservoir. 
(On this point, sec also the present Study, V. v. 459-80, and pp. 14-15, below). 


6 HEROIC AGES 

law of gravity to its own advantage; but, like human migrants who take 
advantage of an estranging sea by temporarily transforming themselves 
from landlubbers into seamen, the water has to pay a price for its 
ingeniously contrived passage. The cultural elements of their social 
heritage that the seafarers take with them on board ship prove to have 
suffered ‘a sea change’ by the time when they are landed in the emigrants’ 
new overseas place of settlement;' and the physical elements with which 
the flying water is impregnated suffer a comparable ‘sky change’ as a 
result of their journey. The tincture of sea salt is left behind in the process 
of evaporation which starts the flying water on its travels, and a tincture 
of rock salt is acquired when the streams begotten by the precipitated 
rain scour out the ravines in their descent into the reservoir. 

The water has accomplished its miraculous aerial voyage, but it is 
now a different brew from what it originally was; and this physical 
phenomenon is an accurate and illuminating simile of the psychic 
phenomenon of the filling of the reservoir of barbarian energy, dammed 
back by a military limes, with the water of life that psychologists call 
libido. The psychic energy that accumulates in the reservoir till its 
remorseless mounting pressure eventually bursts the barrage is derived 
only in an inconsiderable measure from the transfrontier barbarians’ 
own exiguous primitive social heritage; the bulk of it is drawn from the 
vast stores of the civilization which the barrage has been built to protect. 
This is the source of supply that swells the head of water in the reservoir 
to a mass that eventually proves too much for the barrage’s powers of 
resistance; and it is one of the ironies of History that the water which 
then pours through the breach should originally have been supplied by 
the very region which the cataclysm now devastates. Why has this 
water returned in a sudden destructive flood and not in a perennial 
fertilizing stream? The answer is to be found partly in the erection of 
the limes barrage, which has been an audacious human act of inter¬ 
ference with the ordinary course of Nature, and partly in the trans¬ 
formation which the migrant psychic energy has undergone in the 
course of its journey from the cultivated world within the limes to the 
barbarian reservoir beyond it—a transformation that has been Nature’s 
device for surmounting an obstacle which Man has placed in her path. 

Some such transformation of psychic energy is, no doubt, the price of 
every transfer of culture from one society to another; but the degree and 
the character of the transformation vary with the circumstances in which 
the transfer takes place. 2 The psychic transformation is at its minimum 
when the society that is the transmitting agent is a civilization in process 
of growth and the receiving reagent is a primitive society in a socially 
static Yin-state; it is at its maximum when both parties are civilizations 
and both are in disintegration. The case with which we are concerned in 
this Part manifestly lies somewhere between these two extremes; for a 
civilization which is transmitting psychic energy to its external proletariat 
is a civilization that is in process of disintegration ex hypothesi, while 
on the other hand the barbarians in ‘the reservoir’ beyond the limes are 
ex-primitives whose psychic resistance to the cultural radiation of the 
1 See II. ii. 84-100. * See pp. 481-629, below. 



A SOCIAL BARRAGE 7 

adjoining civilization is prompted, not by the positive motive of being 
up in arms in defence of an alternative civilization of their own, but only 
by the negative motive of hostility to an alien culture which, in its break¬ 
down, has lost the original savour that once made it attractive to the 
estranged barbarians’ proselyte ancestors. 

How is a transformation of psychic energy brought about in any of 
these diverse degrees ? The transforming process is the decomposition 
of a culture and its recomposition in a new pattern in which the constant 
component elements will have entered into new relations with one 
another, even if none of the original elements have been eliminated and 
no fresh elements have been added. In other contexts 1 we have com¬ 
pared the social radiation of culture to the physical radiation of light, 
and we shall be reverting to this simile and working out some of its impli¬ 
cations in the next Part after this, 2 in which we shall be concerned with 
encounters in which all parties are societies of the species here called 
'civilizations’. In this place we need merely remind ourselves of three 
radiational 'laws’. 

The first law is that an integral culture ray, like an integral light ray, 
is diffracted into a spectrum of its component elements in the course of 
penetrating a recalcitrant object—the degree of this diffraction being 
proportionate to the degree of the resistance that is encountered. 

The second law is that the diffraction of a culture may also occur, with¬ 
out any impact on an alien and recalcitrant body social, and indeed at a 
stage before the emission of the migrant ray by the emitting society, if, 
before the time of emission, this society has already broken down and 
begun to disintegrate. The cohesion and the diffraction of the component 
elements of a culture are, in fact, the respective symptoms of social health 
and growth and of social sickness and disintegration. A growing civiliza¬ 
tion can be defined as one in which the components of its culture—an 
economic clement, a political element, and a third which may be called 
the cultural element par excellence—are in harmony with one another; 
and, on the same principle, a disintegrating civilization can be defined 
as one in which these same elements have fallen into discord. 

Our third law is that the velocity and the penetrative power of an 
integral culture ray arc averages of the diverse velocities and penetra¬ 
tive powers which its economic, political, and cultural components 
respectively display when, as a result of diffraction, they each travel 
independently of the others. In isolation the economic ray is the swiftest 
and most penetrating, the political ray comes next to it in degree, while 
the cultural ray is surpassed by both its companions on both criteria. 
The speed and penetrative power of an isolated political ray, as well as 
those of an isolated economic ray, arc higher than those of an integral 
ray, whereas the speed and penetrative power of an isolated cultural 
ray are lower than those of an integral ray in which it is borne on the 
wings of its two sisters. This is one reason why the diffraction of a culture 
ray is a social disaster; for the social values of the three elements, as we 
find when we assess them, are exactly inverse to their capacities for 
covering distance and for making their way into foreign bodies. 

» In III. iii. 151-2 and V. v. 199-201. 1 On pp. 481-629, b<!ow. 



8 HEROIC AGES 

In the social intercourse between a disintegrating civilization and its 
alienated external proletariat across a military limes, the diffracted radia¬ 
tion of the civilization suffers a woeful impoverishment in the course of 
its arduous journey; for the respective states of the two parties conspire 
with the artificial barrier between them virtually to eliminate all rela¬ 
tions except those of war and trade, and, of these two, it is war that plays 
the predominant role. 1 

It is true that the passage of a barbarian personnel through the limes 
into the civilization’s domain, first as prisoners of war, then as hostages, 
next as mercenaries, and finally as conquerors, 2 is reflected on the econo¬ 
mic plane in a counter-flow of money—through the diverse channels of 
loot, military pay, and subsidies—out of the world within the limes into 
the barbarian ‘reservoir’ outside; and this money eventually flows back 
to its source in payment for goods purchased by its barbarian recipients 
from marchmen-mcrchants who venture out beyond the limes to peddle 
the wares of Civilization. There have been situations in w-hich a com¬ 
munity of transfronticr barbarians has come in this way to play an 
appreciable part in the domestic economy of the society on which they 
have been preying. A classic example is the apparent economic effect of 
the subsidies paid by the Constantinopolitan Roman Imperial Govern¬ 
ment to Attila {dominabatur , a.d. 434-53), the war-lord of a confederacy 
of Hun Nomad war-bands cantoned in the Hungarian Alfold. This remit¬ 
tance of money in specie from the Imperial Treasury at Constantinople 
to Attila’s ordu beyond the limes seems to have operated as a roundabout 
way of transferring purchasing power from the agrarian interests in the 
Empire, whose taxes provided the means of payment, to the manufactur¬ 
ing and commercial interests, which earned profits by making and 
marketing goods for purchase by the Huns with the money that they 
had exacted. 3 This commercial intercourse across a military limes is, 
however, apt to be discouraged and restricted by the imperial authorities 
because the manifest profitableness of the transfrontier trade to the 
traders on both sides is a plain and pointed indication that, in the social 
situation created by the erection of a limes, the marchmen just inside 
the barrage may acquire a common interest with the barbarians just 
outside it in the exploitation of the marchmen’s fellow citizens in the 
interior of the world which the limes is intended to protect; and, since a 
common interest might assert itself in concerted action between march- 
men and barbarians which would be a deadly danger to the fenced-in 
civilization, 

‘an imperial boundary . .. has in fact a double function: it serves not only 
to keep the outsiders from getting in but to prevent the insiders from 
getting out.. . It was necessary to restrict Chinese enterprise beyond the 
Great Wall . . . because Chinese who ventured too far beyond the Great 
Wall became a liability to the state; the business in which they engaged, 

1 See V. v. 202-3 ar| d 208-9. 

* See V. v. 459-60, and Chadwick, H. M.: The Heroic Age (Cambridge 1012, Uni¬ 
versity Pres*), pp. 445 ~ 6 - 

J An illuminating and entertaining analysis of this three-comcrcd economic relation¬ 
ship will be found in Thompson, E. A.: A History of Attila and the Hunt (Oxford 1048. 
Clarendon Press), pp. 184-97. 



A SOCIAL BARRAGE 9 

whether farming or trade, contributed more to the barbarian community 
than it did to the Chinese community. They passed out of the Chinese 
orbit . . . [and] Chinese who left the Chinese orbit and accommodated 
themselves to an un-Chinese economic and social order inevitably began 
cither to adhere to barbarian rulers or to practise barbarian forms of rule 
themselves—to the disadvantage of China.’ 1 

These considerations move an imperial government to restrict the 
«ow of trade between their own marchmcn and the transfrontier bar¬ 
barians; and such trade as there is tends to confine itself to an exchange 
of imperial specie in barbarian hands for two classes of imperial products: 
luxuries for the barbarian war-lords and their lieutenants and weapons 
both for them and for the rank-and-file of their followers. 1 The trade 
across the limes is, in fact, sickly as well as precarious, while border 
warfare flourishes perennially because Mars is master of the situation in 
which a disintegrating civilization and an alienated external proletariat 
face one another across a static military frontier. 

Under these sinister auspices, such selective mimesis of the Dominant 
Minority by the External Proletariat as does occur takes place on the 
barbarians’ initiative because the barbarians are politically free. 

'The needs and motives of the cisfrontier society and state must make 
concessions to those of the transfronticr peoples. The very act of drawing 
a boundary is an acknowledgement that the peoples excluded are not 
under control and cannot be ruled by command.’ 1 

The barbarians show their initiative by transmuting those culture 
elements that they do accept from the cisfrontier civilization. The lines 
which this transmutation follows are determined partly by an hostility 
to the transmitting civilization which makes the barbarian recipients of 
its cultural radiation disinclined to adopt what they borrow in a form 
that would stamp it as being a loan from this distasteful source; but this 
negative motive of aversion is reinforced by a positive incentive to turn 
a loan to practical account by adapting it to suit the needs of local 
barbarian life in ‘the reservoir’. 

The adaptations thus prompted by xenophobia and by utilitarianism 
go to different lengths in different fields of activity. The cultural products 
of a psychic energy flowing into a transfronticr barbarian society out of a 
civilization within the limes are modified in the process in some cases 
only to an extent that docs not wholly disguise their exotic origin, while 

* Lattimore, O.: Inner Asian Frontiers of China (New York 1940, American Geo¬ 
graphical Society), pp. 240 and 242. See also Thompson, op. cit., pp. 174-6, and the 
present Study, V. v. 471-6. 

1 Classic instances are the Roman weapons of the Imperial Age that have been found 
by Modem Western archaeologists in graves and hoards in the North European hinter¬ 
land of the Continental European Roman frontier, and the Greek luxury goods (some 
of them manufactured especially to suit the taste of this particular barbarian market) 
thae have been found in tombs of the Scythian Age in the Great Western Bay of the 
Eurasian Steppe. In the social structure of the Hun Power in the Hungarian Alffild in 
Attila’s day the importation of luxuiy goods was as important from the political point 
of view as the importation of arms from the military” for the effectiveness of Attila’s 
authority depended on the loyalty of his lieutenants, and his ability to retain their 
loyalty was dependent, in its turn, on his being able to put them in possession of 
luxuries which were symbols of wealth and honour in Nomad eyes (see Thompson, 
op. cit., especially pp. 170-1 and 176-7). 

J Lattimore, op. cit., p. 243. 



IO 


HEROIC AGES 
in other cases the transmutation goes so far as to be equivalent to an 
original act of creation through which the barbarians make the borrowed 
psychic raw materials completely their own spiritual property. Examples 
both of recognizable adaptations and of virtually new creations have 
been given already in a previous survey which need not be recapitulated. 
In this place we need only remind ourselves that the ‘reservoir’ barbar¬ 
ians arc apt to borrow the higher religion of an adjoining civilization in 
the form of a heresy 1 and the Caesarism of an adjoining universal state 
in the form of ‘an irresponsible type of kingship, resting not upon tribal 
or national law . .. but upon military prestige,’ ... in which ‘the king 
and his comitatns form the nucleus of the organism’, 2 while the barbar¬ 
ians’ capacity for original creation is displayed in heroic poetry 3 and in 
a pantheon that is the Olympian counterpart of the human comitatus of 
a barbarian war-lord. 4 

These creative achievements of a barbarian society beyond the pale 
of a disintegrating civilization are impressive; yet the cunningly re¬ 
minted metal still bears a tell-tale mark of its alien origin. The cultural 

« See V. v. 227-9, for the Arianism of the East Teuton barbarian convert* to Christi¬ 
anity beyond the Continental European frontier of the Roman Empire; p. 230 for the 
distinctive ecclesiastical practices of the Celtic barbarian converts to Christianity in 
the British Isles; p. 230 for the original presentation of Islam as a special revelation of the 
truths of Judaism and Christianity for the benefit of the Arab barbarians beyond the 

S 'rian frontier of the Roman Empire; p. 250 for the adoption of Manichaeism and 
estorian Christianity by the barbarians beyond the pale of the Syriac World in Central 
Asia; pp. 251-2 for the hold won by the heretical Shi'i version of Islam over the Berber, 
Iranian, and Arab barbarian neighbours of the 'Abbasid Caliphate in North-West Africa, 
in the fastnesses between the Elburz Range and the south coast of the Caspian Sea, 
and in HasS; p. 295 for the conversion of the Bosniak barbarians first to Bogomilism 
and then to Islam in preference either to Eastern Orthodox or to Western Catholic 
Christianity: p. 205 for the Bektashism of the Albanian barbarian converts to Islam on 
the fringe of the Ottoman Empire; and pp. 295-6 for the dissident Islamic Puritanism 
of the Wahhabi, Idrisi, Mahdist, and Sanusi Arab barbarians adjoining the frontiers 
of the Ottoman Empire in Arabia, the Eastern Sudan, and the hinterland of Cyrenaica. 

* Chadwick, op. cit., pp. 391 and 377; compare eundem: The Origin 0/ the English 
Nation (Cambridge 1007, University Press), pp. 295-300. See also the present Study, 
V. vi. 4, n. 4, and 228-34. 

J Sec V. v. 233 and 237-8 for the Homeric Epic of the Achaean barbarians beyond 
the Continental European frontier of ‘the thalassocracy of Minos’; p. 233 for the Saga 
of the Scandinavian barbarian neighbours of an infant Western Christendom; p. 233 
for the Epic of the Teuton barbarians beyond the Continental frontiers of the Roman 
Empire; pp. 233-4 and 265 (together with V. y. 596-606) for the Epic of the Aryas 
beyond the north-eastern frontiers of the Sumcric Empire of the Four Quarters and the 
north-western frontiers of the domain of the Indus Culture; p. 234 for the heroic poetry 
of the Arab barbarians beyond the Syrian frontier of the Roman Empire and the 
Jritji frontier of the Sasanian Empire; pp. 253-8 for the Greek Epic of the East Roman 
Akritai beyond the Anatolian frontier of the 'Abbasid Caliphate; pp. 250-60 for the 
French Epic of the Frank barbarians beyond the Pyrcnaean frontier of the Umayyad 
Caliphate in the Iberian Peninsula; pp. 288-9 for the Epic of the Russian barbarians 
beyond the north-west frontier of the Golden Horde; pp. 296-0 for the Greek and Serb 
heroic poetry of barbarians on the European fringes of the Ottoman Empire; p. 310 
for the heroic poetry of the Mongol barbarians beyond the Central Asian frontiers of 
the Ming and Manchu Empires; p. 325 for the heroic poetry of the Bosniak barbarians 
beyond the south-east frontier of the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy. 

4 See V. v. 230-3 for barbarian pantheons in general; p. 232 for the pantheons of the 
Achaeans, the Scandinavians, and the Aryas; p. 233 for the pantheon of the continental 
Teuton barbarians beyond the European frontiers of the Roman Empire; and pp. 
328-32 for the religious teaching of the prophets who arose, in the eighteenth and nine¬ 
teenth centuries of the Christian Era, among North American Indians whose traditional 
way of life was being destroyed by the impact of invaders from the European side of 
the Atlantic. These American Indian barbarian religions were noteworthy, as we have 
observed, in being gospels of non-violence in response to the aggression of the Indiana’ 
European assailants. 


A SOCIAL BARRAGE u 

products of the transfrontier barbarian arc scarred by that ‘schism in the 
soul’ which the malady of social disintegration brings with it as its 
counterpart and concomitant. 1 In the psychological revolution which 
coins Barbarism out of Primitive Human Nature, the traditional har¬ 
mony of Primitive Life in its static Yin-state is disrupted into a tension 
between the two poles of a more sophisticated individualism and a like¬ 
wise more sophisticated sense of unity. 

« Sec V. v. 376-368 and vi. x—x 68. 



C. THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 
'The Wreckful Siege of Battering Days' 

T HE limen that lies open between the domain of a growing civilization 
and the homelands of its barbarian proselytes is like a gentle tree- 
clad slope on which the roots preserve the soil from erosion, so that the 
descending waters seep through gradually without scouring out gullies 
and pouring down them in torrents. This landscape is weather-proof, 
and it is consequently an insurance against a cataclysm so long as it is 
not convulsed through the civilization’s breaking down. By contrast, a 
static military frontier between a disintegrating civilization and its 
alienated external proletariat is intrinsically impermanent. The barrage 
is doomed to burst sooner or later. Premonitions of its ultimate fate are 
to be found in the avalanches of barbarian counter-invasion which are 
apt to descend on a civilization in the course of its history, before the 
establishment of its universal state, on fronts where its representatives 
have first extended its bounds by force at the adjoining barbarians’ 
expense and have then broken off their offensive without having arrived 
at a ‘natural’ frontier. 1 

The social barrage created by the establishment of a limes is subject 
to the same law of Nature as the physical barrage created by the con¬ 
struction of a dam. When Man’s obstruction of such a natural drainage 
system has brought into existence two artificially separated bodies of 
water at two different levels, this human interference with Nature 
provokes on Nature’s side an impulse to correct it. The water piled up 
above the dam seeks to regain a common level with the water below the 
barrier, and the degree of the consequent pressure is determined by the 
quotient of the difference in height between the two levels and the mass 
of the water held at the higher level of the two. In the structure of a 
physical dam the engineer introduces safety-valves in the form of sluices 
which can be opened, to whatever the necessary extent may be, whenever 
the pressure of the head of water in the reservoir threatens to exceed 
the limits of the dam’s capacity to resist it; and this obvious device for 
safeguarding the dam against catastrophe by providing for a regulated 
release of the pent-up waters is not overlooked by the political engineers 
of a military limes, as we shall see. In this case, however, the attempted 
remedy merely precipitates the cataclysm that it is designed to forestall, 
for the social and psychological materials of which a limes is constructed 
are so frail and friable that, if once this sandstone masonry is breached, 
the outpouring waters of barbarian energy quickly sweep the whole 
structure away. In the maintenance of a social barrage the relief of 
pressure by a regulated release of water is, in fact, impracticable; there 
can be no discharge from the reservoir without the barrage being 
destroyed; and, since, from the moment when the barrage is erected, the 
head of water above it keeps on accumulating inexorably ex hypothesi 
through the transfer of energy from the civilization below the barrage 
1 For examples of such barbarian avalanches, see V. v. 205. n. 3. 


THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 13 
and its transformation into barbarian energy in the reservoir above, 
sooner or later the time is bound to come when breaking-point will have 
been reached, and at that juncture a catastrophe will inevitably occur. 

The day of doom may be postponed by attempts to strengthen the 
structure of the barrage as an alternative to the impracticable expedient 
of piercing it with sluices; but this cruder countermeasure can at best 
put off the evil day without being equal to averting it; for, as we shall 
also see, each arithmetical increase in the pressure of transferred and 
transformed energy upon the limes increases the cost of proportionately 
reinforcing the barrage by a geometrical progression. In this race be¬ 
tween attack and defence, the attack cannot fail to win in the long run; 
and thus, on a static limes, Time works inexorably on the barbarian’s 
side, as we have observed already by anticipation. 1 This ‘law’ also 
signifies, however, that it does take time for barbarians barred out by a 
limes to achieve their inevitable eventual break-through into the long- 
coveted domain of a disintegrating civilization which looks to them like 
an earthly paradise so long as ‘distance lends enchantment to the view’. 2 
‘A long period of “education”, in which a semi-civilized people has been 
profoundly affected from without by the influence of a civilized people,’ 3 
is the necessary prelude 4 to the 'heroic age’ in which the barbarians have 
their fling when a sagging and tottering limes at last collapses. 

The Impracticability of a Policy of Non-Intercourse 

Thus the erection of a limes sets in motion a play of social forces 
which is bound to end disastrously for the builders; and, for them, the 
only way of avoiding ultimate disaster would be to preclude this fatal 
course of events by insulating completely from one another the two in¬ 
compatible societies whose respective domains the limes artificially 
demarcates. A policy of non-intercourse is, indeed, the counsel of per¬ 
fection in the mind of any imperial government that is burdened with 
the responsibility for keeping a limes in being. In practice, however, an 
arbitrarily drawn military barrier can never perfectly or permanently 
produce the effect of a ‘natural’ frontier provided by some untraversed 

' In V. v. 209. * Campbell, Thomas: Pleasures 0} Hope, Part I, I. 7. 

* Chadwick, The Heroic Age, p. 458. 

* Apropos of the Serb heroic age at the climax of an Orthodox Christian Time of 
Troubles, after the collapse of the Bulgarian and East Roman Empires and before the 
imposition of a Pax Ottomanica, Chadwick points out in op. tit., on p. 448, that, ‘here 
again .... as in the Teutonic and Cumbrian heroic ages, we have the case of a semi- 
civilized and "juvenile” nation exposed fora long period to the influence of a civilized 
but decaying empire'. Chadwick has, in fact, established an historical ‘law’ to the effect 
that the precipitation of an heroic age is normally the cumulative effect of the radiation 
of a decaying civilization into a primitive society over a period of time that is to be mea¬ 
sured, not in years, but in generations. Since the publication of Chadwick’s The Heroic 
Age in a.d. 1912 it had, however, been demonstrated by Hitler that a diabolically 1 per¬ 
verse process of mis-education can artificially produce the same psychological^ effect in 
a community that has advanced as far alone the path of civilization as pre-Nazi Ger¬ 
many, and that, under these artificial conditions, the process of barbanzation can be 
so greatly speeded up as to be ‘telescoped’ into the span of a single generation. The 
deliberate uprooting of the boys and youths of Nazi Germany from the habit, expecta¬ 
tion, and love of a settled life by the systematic application of Modern Western methods 
of mass-suggestion had evoked a caricature of an heroic age by a process of ‘speeding-up’ 
that was a counterpart, on the psychological plane, of the visual effect produced by 
speeding up the display of a film. 


i 4 HEROIC AGES 

sea or desert or mountain-range, because the wardens of the limes find 
themselves unable effectively to control either the transfrontier barbar¬ 
ians or the cisfrontier marchmcn. 

‘The very fact that the "barbarians” of the excluded territory are al¬ 
ways described as aggressive raiders, attackers and invaders shows that 
geographical limits that appear "natural” and inevitable to one society 
are not necessarily regarded as geographical obstacles by other societies, 
which may in fact treat them as merely political obstacles.’ 1 

And, conversely, 

‘While the general policy of the [universal] state seeks to establish the 
limit at which its interests can remain centripetal, and to prevent exces¬ 
sive expansion from passing over into centrifugal dispersion, this policy 
is resisted and evaded by the particular interests of traders, would-be 
colonisers, ambitious political and military careerists, and so forth, who 
see opportunities for themselves across the border. Thus there grows up 
a nexus of border interests which resents and works against the central 
interest.’ 2 

A striking illustration of this tendency among the marchmcn of a 
universal state to make common cause with the barbarians beyond the 
pale is afforded by the history of the relations between the Roman 
Empire and the Hun Eurasian Nomads who broke out of the heart of the 
Eurasian Steppe towards the end of the third quarter of the fourth 
century of the Christian Era and established themselves on the Hungarian 
Alfold. 3 Though the Huns were unusually ferocious barbarians from the 
back of beyond, and though their ascendancy along the European limes 
of the Roman Empire was ephemeral, a record of three notable cases of 
fraternization had survived among the fragmentary remnants of the 
contemporary accounts of this brief episode. Attila’s secretary of state 
was a Pannonian subject of the Roman Empire named Orestes, whose 
son Romulus Augustulus was to make his name by the facile achieve¬ 
ment of being the last Roman Emperor in the West. 4 The renegade 
Greek business man from Viminacium whom the Greek historian and 
Roman diplomatist Priscus encountered in Attila’s ordu on the Alfold 
in a.d. 449 has already come to our noticed This adventurous Greek was 
not even a marchman by birth. He had migrated to Viminacium, on the 
Danubian limes of the Empire, from the interior of the Hellenic World 
before being deported beyond the pale when his adopted city was cap¬ 
tured by the Huns in a.d. 441. The third member of the trio is ‘Eustace, 
a merchant of Apamea’, who, ‘about the year a.d. 484, long after Attila 
was dead, is found accompanying a band of Hun marauders in the role 
of their chief adviser on a plundering expedition against Persia’. 6 

The Hun Power in Europe came and went too quickly for this fraterni- 

1 Lattimorc, Inner Asian Frontiers of China, p. 239. 1 Ibid., pp. 243-4. 

J The occupation of the Alfdld by the Western Huns is dated tentatively on the 
morrow of the Battle of Adrianople (eommssum a.d. 378) by Thompson, E. A.: A His¬ 
tory of Attila and the Huns (Oxford 1948, Clarendon rress), p. 26. 

4 ‘Orestes Pannonius, qui eo tempore quando Attila ad Italiam venit se illi iunxit, 
et eius notarius factus fuerat’ (Anonymus Valesianus, chap. 38, quoted by Thompson, 
op. cit., p. 163). _ J In V. v. 473-4. 

6 Thompson, op. cit., p. 175, quoting Zachariah of Mytilene, p. 152. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 15 
zation between the aggressive barbarians and the renegade children of 
the civilization that was their victim to produce any lasting historical 
effect. It is, however, significant that it should have gone to such lengths 
in so short a time between parties which, at their first encounter, had 
been poles apart in their respective ways of life; and, in cases in which 
the barbarian Power with whom the renegades had thrown in their lot 
had been built on more durable foundations, this unholy alliance had 
sometimes begotten noteworthy political offspring. The residuary con¬ 
tinental European successor-state of the Roman Empire in the West 
was born of a partnership between Frankish laeti and Gallic bishops and 
landlords who were the local representatives of the Roman Senatorial 
Order. The Manchu Empire, which provided the main body of the Far 
Eastern Society with a second instalment of its universal state, was born 
of a similar partnership between Manchu transfrontier barbarians and 
Chinese marchmcn settled beyond the Great Wall but within the Willow 
Palisade. 1 

Thus the existence of a limes always in practice generates social inter¬ 
course—and this in both directions—between the parties whom the 
barrier is designed to insulate from one another. In this intercourse, as 
we have seen,* war predominates over trade; and war is a relation which 
is technologically educative in spite of being psychologically estranging. 
A universal state cannot hold the transfrontier barbarians in check along 
the line of the times without fighting them, and it cannot fight them 
without involuntarily training them in its own superior way of doing this 
sinister work. The art of war radiates more rapidly and penetratingly 
than any other branch of technique; in the outflow of exports, weapons 
are apt to arrive earlier and make their way farther afield than non- 
lcthal tools; 1 and the imported weapons of an adjoining civilization are 
copied by barbarian artificers with an adroitness that is proportionate 
to the eagerness of the demand in the local barbarian market. 

The Eurasian Nomad barbarians ‘could not arm themselves at all for 
purposes of large-scale offensive operations without the assistance of 
imported weapons. . . . Even the Mongols of the twelfth century—a 
military' nation if ever there was one—had to import their weapons, 
chiefly from China and Khurasan.’ 4 On the North-West Frontier of the 
British Indian Empire from about a.d. 1890 onwards ‘the influx of rifles 
and ammunition into tribal territory . .. completely changed the nature 
of border warfare’ ; s and, while the transfrontier Pathans’ and BalQchis’ 
earliest source of supply of up-to-date Western small-arms was system¬ 
atic robbery from the British Indian troops on the other side of the line, 
‘there would ... have been small cause for apprehension, had it not been 
for the enormous growth of the arms traffic in the Persian Gulf, which, 
both at Bushirc and [at] Muscat, was at first in the hands of British 

1 Sec VI. vii. 128-9 arxi 332. * On pp. 8-9. above. 

* ‘We may refer in particular to the Roman helmets and the large number of Roman 
swords and shield-bosses found in deposits on the cast side of the province of Slcsvig— 
a district remote from the Roman frontiers’ (Chadwick, op. cit., np. 444 ~ 5 )- 

4 Thompson, E. A.: A History o] Attila and the Hum (Oxford 1948, Clarendon Press), 
pp. 173 and 172. ... 

* Davies, C.C.: The Problem of the North-West Frontier, 1S90-X90S (Cambndge 
1932, University Press), p. 176. 



16 HEROIC AGES 

traders’ 1 —a striking example of the tendency for the private interests of 
the empire’s subjects in doing business with the transfrontier barbarians 
to militate against the public interest of the imperial government in 
keeping the barbarians at bay. ‘When these methods failed, there still 
remained the Kohat rifle factory, owned by Pathans, and situated in the 
strip of independent territory which separates Peshawar from Kohat.’ 2 
‘The possession of arms of precision has also produced a change in 
Pathan tactics, for, with the exception of certain ghSssi rushes, there has 
been a tendency for the recklessness which characterized the earlier 
struggles to disappear.’ 5 


The Barbarians' Exploitation of their Civilized Neighbours' Weapons 

The transfronticr barbarian is not, however, content simply to practise 
the superior tactics which he has learnt from an adjoining civilization 
without proceeding to adapt them to the local terrain. Ex hypothesise al¬ 
ready has the initial advantage of being at home in a theatre of military 
operations in which his opponent is a stranger, since the limes is situated 
in barbarian territory which the civili2ation has occupied, up to this line, 
by force of arms in an aggressive previous chapter of its history. When 
the barbarian combines his hereditary mastery of the local situation with 
a creative adaptation of borrowed weapons and tactics, superior to his 
own, to suit the local conditions of warfare, he becomes formidable 
indeed. His best opportunities for putting his civilized adversary at this 
military disadvantage arise where the local terrain displays some strongly 
pronounced physical characteristic which is unfamiliar and adverse to 
the civilized belligerent and yet at the same time lends itself to the 
employment, with adroit modifications, of weapons and tactics that have 
been borrowed from him by his barbarian antagonist. 

For example, on the maritime frontiers of the Carolingian Empire and 
the Kingdom of Wessex the Scandinavian pirates turned to such good 
account a technique of shipbuilding and seamanship which they had 
acquired, perhaps, from the Frisian maritime marchmen of a nascent 
Western Christendom that they captured the command of the sea and, 
with it, the initiative in the offensive warfare which they proceeded to 
wage along the coasts and up the rivers of the Western Christian 
countries that were their victims. 4 When, in pushing up the rivers of 
the British Isles and France, the Scandinavian raiders reached the limit 
beyond which they could not make their way farther by water even in 
their shallow and slender dragon-ships, they exchanged one borrowed 
weapon for another and continued their aggressive campaign on horse¬ 
back instead of on ship-board, since the invaded countries were stocked 
with horses for them to seize and they had mastered the Frankish art 5 
of cavalry-fighting as well as the Frisian art of navigation. The Cossack 
barbarians proved equally ubiquitous and elusive in their attacks on the 
steppe-empire of the Golden Horde when these river-pirates, lurking on 
islands among cataracts where the Nomad was out of his element, added 

1 Davie*, op. cit., p. 177. * Ibid. 

5 Ibid., p. 176. 4 See II. ii. 344-6. 

* Frankish by adoption, Sarmatian by origin (see IV. iv. 439-45). 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 17 
a second string to their bow by also mastering the Tatar art of horse¬ 
manship. 1 Conversely the Saka Nomad barbarian invaders of an Hellenic 
empire in India in the second and the last century b.c. added a second 
string to their bow by exchanging the saddle for the deck in order to 
take advantage of the waterways offered to an invader by the River Indus 
and its tributaries. 2 

The militarily decisive employment of the horse by sedentary bar¬ 
barians beyond the frontier of a Nomad steppe-empire had had counter¬ 
parts in cases of the more usual type in which the Nomad had been the 
representative of Barbarism and the husbandman the representative of 
Civilization. The original domestication of the horse appears to have 
been achieved by Aryan Nomad barbarians from the Transcaspian 
fringe of the Great Eurasian Steppe who mounted the Iranian Plateau 
and broke across it, in the eighteenth or the seventeenth century B.c., 3 
into the domain of an Empire of Sumer and Akkad that had been re¬ 
constituted by Hammurabi. At this tempestuous first entry of the war- 
horse upon the stage of History the new-fangled animate weapon makes 
its appearance, not as a cavalryman’s mount, but as a charioteer’s 
tractor; and the two-wheeled battle-car, drawn by a pair of draught- 
animals under the yoke, is shown by the archaeological evidence to have 
been a weapon which the Aryan Nomad barbarians had borrowed from 
the Sumeric Society against which these invaders eventually employed 
it with such deadly effect. 

‘In the . . . Early Dynastic reliefs from Ur and Kafajah, and on the 
famous inlaid “standard” from the royal tombs of Ur, . . . ass-drawn 
chariots are shown in great detail, with solid wheels made of two half¬ 
discs dowelled together against the hub ... It looks ... as if the battle- 
car was an invention of Early Dynastic Sumer and that its use was adopted, 
with other technological devices such as metallurgy and the shaft-hole 
axe . . ., by the Indo-Europeans on the northerly fringes of the Kingdom 
of Sumer and Akkad soon after 2000 B.C., [and was] given added 
speed and lightness by the use of horses and the invention of the spoked 
wheel.’ 4 


On the Syrian limes of the Roman Empire the ground had been prepared 
for the titanic irruption of the transfronticr Arab Nomad barbarians in 
the seventh century of the Christian Era by the recent introduction of 
the war-horse into the Arabian Peninsula some sixteen or seventeen 
centuries after its arrival in the adjoining ‘Fertile Crescent’ from its place 
of origin somewhere in Central Asia.* The less dramatic, yet also 
momentous, irruption of the Berber Nomad barbarians across the 
Empire’s North-West African limes in the preceding century had been a 
similar consequence of the recent introduction of the camel from Arabia 
into North Africa. 6 

« Sec II. ii. 154-7 “nd V. v. 282-4. 

* See Tarn, W.W.: The Greeks in Bactria and India (Cambridge 1938, University 
Press), pp. 320, 322, and 328-30. 

* Sec the Note on Chronology in vol. x, pp. 167-212. below. 


J bee the Note on Chronology in vol. x, pp. 107-212. below. 

* Piggott, Stuart: Prehistoric India (London 1050, Pelican), pp. 274 and 276. 
s i.e. at about the beginning of the Christian Era, according to Cactani, L.: i 
Storia Orientate, vol. i (Milan 1911, Hoepli), p. 346. 

4 See Gautier, E.F.: Lei SiMes Obseurs du Maghreb (Paris 1927, Payot), pp. 165-79- 


Studi di 





iS HEROIC AGES 

The most dramatic case in the history of the war-horse in which this 
weapon had been turned by a barbarian against the civilization from 
which he had acquired it was to be found in the New World, where the 
horse had been unknown till it had been imported by post-Columbian 
Western Christian intruders from the European side of the Atlantic. 
Owing to this lack of a domesticated animal which, in the Old World, 
had been the making of the Nomad stock-breeder’s way of life, the 
Great Plains of the Mississippi Basin, 1 * which would have been a herds¬ 
man’s paradise, had remained the hunting-grounds of tribes who 
followed their game laboriously on foot over these great open spaces. 
The belated advent of the horse in this ideal horse-country had effects on 
the life of the immigrant and the life of the native which, while in both 
cases revolutionary, were different in every other respect. The introduc¬ 
tion of the horse on to the plains of Texas, Venezuela, and Argentina 
made Nomad stock-breeders out of the descendants of 150 generations 
of husbandmen; 1 the same potent technological revolution made mobile 
mounted war-bands out of the Indian hunting-tribes on the Great Plains 
of North America beyond the northern frontier of the Spanish vice¬ 
royalty of New Spain 3 and beyond the western frontier of the English 
colonies that eventually became the United States. In this case the 
borrowed weapon, mated with a local terrain that was ideal for its em¬ 
ployment, did not give the transfrontier barbarian the ultimate victory 
against an adversary equipped with the far more potent weapons of 
Industrialism; but it did enable him to postpone the day of his final 
discomfiture and to inflict one signal disaster on the aggressive civiliza¬ 
tion in the last chapter of this North American frontier’s history. 4 5 

While the nineteenth century of the Christian Era saw the prairie 
Indian of North America turn one of the European intruder’s weapons 
against its original owner by disputing the possession of the Plains with 
the aid of the horse, the eighteenth century had already seen the forest 
Indian turn the European musket to account in a new-fangled warfare 
of sniping and ambuscades which, with the screening forest as the 
Indian sharp-shooter’s confederate, had proved more than a match for 
the tactics of the Potsdam parade ground, whose close formation, precise 
evolutions, and steady volleys—designed for polite hostilities on Euro¬ 
pean battle-fields—courted destruction when unimaginatively employed 
against adversaries who had mated the European musket with the 
American forest. s In days before the invention of fire-arms, correspond- 


1 Sec Webb, W.P.: The Great Plaint (New York 1031, Ginn). 

* See II. i. 25J-6. 

J The enterprisingness of the nineteenth-century Apache* and Comanche* in mount¬ 
ing on horse-back is in piquant contrast to the conservatism of their Spanish antagonists, 
whom the turn of the century found still using the lance and shield and even the bow- 
ond-arrows—apart from an elite armed with fire-locks of a sixteenth-century pattern 
(see III. iii. 136, n. 1). 

4 The history of the Indian frontier of the United States is examined further on 
pp. 630-50, below. 

5 In thus turning to account the military potentialities of the North American forest 
the Indians merely postponed the date of their extermination at the hands of their 
assailants from beyond the Atlantic. If, before the Europeans' advent, they had managed 
to turn the forest’s economic potentialities to account by cutting it down and replacing 
it by a populous agricultural country-side, they might not merely have postponed their 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 19 
ing adaptations of the current weapons of an aggressive civilization to 
the opportunities offered by forest warfare had enabled the barbarian 
denizens of the Russian forests to bend, without breaking, before the 
blast of repeated explosions of Nomad aggression from the Eurasian 
Steppe, and to survive the ephemeral dominions of successive Nomad 
lords of the Steppe’s Great Western Bay, from the Royal Scythians to 
the Golden Horde. 1 A similar response to a comparable challenge had 
enabled the barbarian denizens of the Transrhenanc forests of Northern 
Europe to save a still-forest-clad Germany from the Roman conquest that 
had overtaken an already partially cleared and cultivated Gaul by inflict¬ 
ing on the Romans a decisively deterrent disaster in the Teutoburger- 
wald in a.d. 9. 


The Barbarians' Exploitation of their Native Terrain 

The line along which the military frontier between the Roman Empire 
and the Continental North European Barbarians consequently came to 
rest for the next four centuries carries its own explanation on the face of 
it in terms of terrain and tactics. It was the line beyond which a forest 
that had reigned here since the end of the latest bout of glaciation was 
still decisively preponderant over the works of Homo Agricola which had 
opened the way for the march of the Roman legions from the Mediter¬ 
ranean up to the Rhine and the Danube. This line, however, also 
happened, as we have observed,* to be the longest alincment that could 
have been found for a Roman military frontier across Continental Europe 
by a surveyor perversely seeking to draw the frontier out to the maximum 
possible length; and, even if the trade had been drawn, not from the 
mouth of the Rhine to the burdensomely distant mouth of the Danube, 
but along the shortest line between the Baltic and the Black Sea or 
between the North Sea and the Adriatic, we may surmise that, in the 
long run, this hypothetical shortest practicable Roman times in Con¬ 
tinental Europe would have suffered the fate that actually overtook the 
long-drawn-out historic line between Batavia and the Dobruja; for, 
while it is evident that the burden of maintaining a limes varies in weight 
in proportion to the frontier’s length, the fatal weakness of a times is not 
its length but its stationariness and rigidity, and this weakness, being 
intrinsic, is irremediable. 

On the local anti-barbarian frontiers of the still surviving parochial 
states of a Westernizing World which, at the time of writing, embraced 
all but a fraction of the total habitable and traversable surface of the 
planet, two of the recalcitrant barbarian’s faithful non-human allies had 
already been outmanoeuvred by a Modern Western industrial technique. 
The Forest had long since fallen a victim to cold steel, while the Steppe, 
from its parkland fringe to its desert heart, had been penetrated by the 
petrol-driven internal combustion engine of the aeroplane and the 
terrestrial motor vehicle travelling on the treads of a revolving belt over 


doom but have averted it at the price of losing their political independence (sec IT. 
ii. 277-8). A thickly settled Central American and Andean peasantry did survive a 
Spanish conquest. 

* See V. v. 281-9. In v - v - 591 - 5 - 



20 


HEROIC AGES 


terrain where wheels could no longer convey it. The barbarian’s 
mountain ally, however, had proved a harder nut to crack, and the 
nineteenth-century Russian feat of taming the Caucasus and twentieth- 
century French feat of taming the Atlas and the Rif had not yet been 
emulated by any corresponding domestication of either the western or 
the eastern rim of the Iranian Plateau. At this date the serried tiers of 
the Zagros Range, astride a theoretical Perso-Turkish and Perso-'Iraqi 
frontier, were still serving as fastnesses for wild Kurds, Lurs, Bakhti- 

S rls, and the motley wild highlanders of Fars, while the Sulayman 
nge and its ramifications were performing the same service for wild 
Pathans and Baluchis who were hardly conscious of a theoretical Indo- 
Afghan frontier that had been drawn across the map of their homelands 
in a.d. 1893 and had been inherited in a.d. 1947 from a British Indian 
Empire by a Pakistan that was one of its three successor-states. 

This highlander rear-guard of a Barbarism which, in a ubiquitously 
Westernizing World, was now fighting with its back to the same advanc¬ 
ing wall that it was confronting, had been displaying, in its latest forlorn 
hopes, an impressive ingenuity in turning to its own advantage, on its 
own terrain , some of the latter-day devices of an industrial Western 
military technique. By this tour de force the Rif I highlanders astride the 
theoretical boundary between the Spanish and French zones of Morocco 
had inflicted on the Spaniards at Anwal in the summer of a.d. 1921 a 
disaster 1 comparable to the annihilation of Varus’s three legions by the 
Cherusci and their neighbours in the Teutoburgerwald in a . d . 9, and 
had left their mark on History by making the Romanesque structure of 
French Power in North-West Africa rock on its foundations in the 
summer of a.d. 1925. By the same sleight of hand the Mahsuds of 
Waziristan had baffled repeated British attempts to subdue them during 
the ninety-eight years that had elapsed between a.d. 1849, when the 
British had inherited this anti-barbarian frontier from the Sikhs as a 
penalty for having annexed the Sikh Raj, and a . d . 1947, when the 
British had disencumbered themselves of a still unsolved Indian North- 
West Frontier problem by bequeathing this unwelcome legacy to a fully 
self-governing Dominion of Pakistan. 

In the trial of strength in a.d. 1925 between the Rlfi barbarian war¬ 
lord ‘Abd-al-Karim and the great French soldier and administrator 
Marshal Lyautey, 


‘the prospective scene of operations, like the adjoining parts of the 
Spanish Zone, was an arid treeless country, covered with a thorny under¬ 
growth, broken up by ravines, and cursed with a scanty water-supply; 
and this was almost an ideal terrain for the Rlfi forces, who were thoroughly 
at home in their native environment and at the same time had adopted 
such elements in the Western art of war as could be employed there to 
good purpose. Every Rlfi fighting-man was an adept at taking cover, and, 
notwithstanding the brokenness of the country, he was disconcertingly 
mobile, since he lived in the open and carried no impedimenta except a 
handful of food, in the hood of his cloak, and his rifle and ammunition. 
With rifles, machine-guns, and small-arms ammunition the Rifis had 
1 For details see Toynbee, A.J.: Survey of International Affairs, 1025, vol i (London 
1927, Milford), pp. 115-16. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 21 

supplied themselves abundantly at the Spaniards’ expense; and, although 
the captured Spanish artillery was clumsily served and there was no air 
force on the Rif! side, these were luxuries and not necessities under the 
local conditions. On the other hand the Rifi High Command had not only 
captured but [had] learnt to utilise field telephones, and by means of 
these they were able to keep in touch with their widely scattered and con¬ 
stantly moving units, and to execute concerted manoeuvres over as wide 
a field as their opponents. They appear to have established district depots 
of rifles and ammunition, to which the tribesmen could be called up at 
short notice, fitted out, and then dispatched to any point where they 
were needed. The bulk of their forces was extremely fluid—the men being 
perpetually called up in relays and perpetually released (as far as the 
course of the campaign allowed) to work in the fields. Every tribe, how¬ 
ever, appears to have been required to supply a permanent contingent, 
and the tribal levies were stiffened by a small standing army of regulars* 
(mostly drawn from 'Abd-al-Karim’s own tribe, the Banu Wuryaghal of 
Ajdir) who were uniformly trained and equipped and were in receipt of 
pay and rations—in consideration of which they had to hand over their 
booty to the Government. 

‘The Rifi tactics (which were directed by *Abd-al-KarIm’s brother, 
Mahammad, the mining engineer, as Commander-in-Chief) were to send 
fonvard a screen of irregulars who filtered through the enemy’s line and 
raised the tribes in his rear—if necessary by coercion. By this means the 
Rifi army grew like a snowball as it advanced, each tribe whose territory 
became the scene of fighting being called out eti masse. The tendency 
towards desultoriness and incoherence, which was to be looked for in an 
army recruited in this way, was guarded against by placing all the tribal 
contingents under the command of regulars, but the main body of the 
regular troops was carefully husbanded and kept in reserve. Advancing 
behind the screen of tribesmen they dug themselves in, provided a sup¬ 
port upon which the skirmishers could fall back, and resisted enemy 
counter-attacks in hand-to-hand fighting,* with a tenacity which reminded 
their French adversaries of European warfare.’ 3 

Through this skilful adaptation of tactics to terrain the Rifi offensive 
in the summer of a.d. 1925 came within an ace of cutting the corridor, 
traversed by a railway, which linked the effectively occupied part of the 
French Zone of Morocco, along the Atlantic seaboard, with the main 
body of French North-West Africa in Algeria and Tunisia, and which 
thereby insulated the still unsubdued Rifis astride the boundary between 
the French and Spanish zones of Morocco from the likewise still un¬ 
subdued tache de Taza , immediately south of the French corridor, and 
from the much larger unsubdued area, farther south again, in the fast¬ 
nesses of the Atlas. The threat to the corridor at the crisis of the cam¬ 
paign may be said, without exaggeration, to have put in jeopardy the 

' Estimated at from 6,000 to 10,000 men (Foreign Affairs of New York, January 
1926). 

* 'Marshal Lyautcy has found himself in the presence, not indeed of highly scientific 
armies, but of a remarkable infantry, which ia the equal of any infantry in the World in 
courage, character ar.d marksmanship’ (M. Painlevd in the French Chamber, 9th July, 
1925). For accounts of the military organization and tactics of the Rifi forces, tee The 
Times, 19th May, 1925; Le Temps , 2xst and 23rd May, and 22nd June; three articles 
by M. Reginald Kann in Le Temps, 7th. 9th, and 13th August; and an article by Signor 
Luciano Magrini in the Corriere della Sera, 30th August. 

3 Toynbee, Survey, 1923, vol. i, pp. 135-6. 



22 


HEROIC AGES 
whole French position in the Maghrib; for if the Rif is had broken 
through they might have raised the Atlas tribes, and such an extension of 
hostilities would have immeasurably increased the strain on French 
military resources. 

Interests of comparable magnitude were at stake for the British Raj 
in India in the trial of strength between the Mahsud barbarians and the 
armed forces of the British Indian Empire in the Waziristan campaign of 
a.d. 1919-20; for, if in this contest the Mahsuds had got the better of 
the Great Power whom they were audaciously defying, the conflagration 
might have spread through the length and breadth of the unsubdued 
country astride the theoretical Indo-Afghan frontier. In this campaign 
likewise the barbarian belligerent’s strength lay in his skilful adaptation 
of Modem Western arms and tactics to a terrain that was unpropitious 
for their use on the lines that were orthodox for their Western inventors. 

‘The elaborate and costly equipment which had been invented on the 
European battlefields of the General War [of a.d. 1914-1918], in operations 
on level ground between two highly organised armies, was very much 
less effective when employed against parties of tribesmen lurking in a 
tangle of mountains.’ 1 

On the other hand, 

‘as a fighting man the WazTr and the Mahsud, always more particularly 
the latter, when in his own country, may be classed very high. Agile and 
enduring, he is possessed on his own hillsides of an astonishing mobility, 
which is intensified by complete disregard of impedimenta, as well as 
by a natural hardiness that greatly simplifies all supply problems. His 
skill with the small-bore rifle is considerable, and is only surpassed by a 
great capacity to exploit the slightest weakness shown by his enemy. 
Disregard of methods of security on the one hand, a too slavish routine in 
their enforcement on the other, miscalculations as to time and space, all 
these faults have been repeatedly penalized by the Mahsud and WazTr. 
The tribesman is gifted with untiring patience and vigilance in observing 
an enemy when the latter is on the move, a characteristic which makes 
it extremely difficult to outflank or to surprise him. He is an expert in 
the attack of detached posts and in the surprise of small parties. This skill 
may be enhanced by the employment of ruses which can justly be stig¬ 
matized as closely akin to treachery.’ 1 

In order to defeat, even inconclusively, transfrontier barbarians who 
have attained the degree of military expertise shown by the Mahsuds in 
a.d. 1919 and by the Rifis in a.d. 1925, the Power behind the threatened 
limes has to exert an effort that—measured in terms either of man¬ 
power or of equipment or of money—is quite disproportionate to the 
modest challenge from its gadfly opponents to which this ponderous 
counter-attack is the irreducible minimum of response. 

‘The maximum fighting strength of the Mahsuds was estimated at 
16,000 and that of the Wana Wazlrs (who did not follow the example of 

1 Toynbee, op. cit.. p. <57. 

* de Watteville, H.: Waxirittan, 1919-1020 (London 1925, Constable), p. 23. 
Evidence bearing out this appreciation will be found payim. There arc striking examples 
on pp. 130, 156, 207-9, and 213. The quotations from this book have been made with 
the permission of the publishers. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 23 

the Tochi Wazirs in submitting) at 7,000; but the effective number of 
combatants was limited by the number of efficient breach-loading rifles 
at their disposal, and this was estimated at not more than 8,000 in the 
case of the Mahsuds and 3,000 in that of the Wana Wazirs. Moreover, 
the number of small-bore rifles burning smokeless powder which the 
recalcitrant tribesmen possessed was estimated (even after their capture 
in May 1919) at not more than 3,500 in all, and this limited the size of the 
tribal force which would be under arms at any given moment, since 
throughout the campaign the tribesmen rigidly refrained, in daylight 
operations, from using rifles burning black powder, in order not to reveal 
their positions to the enemy. The largest force ever actually assembled 
at one moment was believed to have numbered 4,500, but this number 
was quite exceptional. 1 * 

'On the other side the Indian Expeditionary Force numbered 29,256 
combatants and 34,987 non-combatants on the 13th November, 1919, and 
rose to an eventual daily average of 41,800 combatants and 37,900 non- 
combatants approximately . . . [But] less than a fifth of the total force, 
and hardly more than a fifth of the combatants, could be included in the 
Striking Force, which consisted on the 8th November of 8,500 com¬ 
batants, 6,500 followers, 1,400 horses and equipment animals, and 7,300 
transport animals’. 1 

The four years of arduous fighting between the forces of the British 
Indian Empire and the barbarians of Waziristan in a.d. 1919-23 were 
the significantly paradoxical consequence of a Third Anglo-Afghan War 
in which the barbarian belligerent had been defeated in a nine-days’ 
campaign (9th-17th May, 1919). The Afghan aggressors’ perform¬ 
ance had been as ignominious as the British victors’ had been brilliant; 3 

but this relatively easy victory over a vulnerably organized barbarian 
principality 4 had to be purchased by the civilized belligerent at the cost 
of a disproportionate effort of the same relative order of magnitude that 
was afterwards to be exacted by the harder task of chastising the elusive 
Mahsuds. On the Afghan side the concentration of regular troops at the 
end of April 1919 was estimated by the British military intelligence at a 
total figure of not more than 35,260 sabres and rifles, 5 while on the 
Indian side ‘at one time the strength of the force employed trans-Indus 
amounted to 340,000 men and 158,000 animals, and it will readily be 
understood that the maintenance of these numbers with depleted means 
of transportation was a problem of considerable difficulty.’ 6 The diffi¬ 
culties were increased by an epidemic of cholera and a heat wave, 7 and by 


I See de Wntteviile, op. cit., pp. 24-25.—A.J.T. 

3 Toynbee, op. cit., pp. 556-7, following de Wattevillc, op. cit. 

’ A brief account of this war will be found in Toynbee, A. J.: Survey of International 
Jiff airs, 2920-1923 (London 1925, Milford), pp. 376-84. 

* In terms of the barbarian reservoir beyond the limes of the Roman Empire on the 
European Continent the war-bands of Waziristan might be compared with those of 
the Transrhenane German tribes that annihilated Varus’s army in a.d. 9, whereas the 
principality’ of Afghanistan might be compared with the Bohemian principality of Maro- 
boduus, which was saved from Roman attack in a.d. 6 by the outbreak of a Pannoman 
revolt, or with the Transylvanian principality of Decebalua, which was conquered by 
the Romans in A.D. iot-6. 

s Dispatch, dated the 1st November, 1919, from General Sir C. C. Monro, Com- 
mandcr-in-Chicf in India (printed as Second Supplement to the London Gazelle of 
the 12th March, 1920), §§ 20-21. _ ....... 

6 Monro, op. cit., § 5- 7 See ,b,d -> §$ x 6 _, 7 - 



24 HEROIC AGES 

the size of the theatre of operations. This problem of geographical scale 
was given prominence in the report of the British Commander-in-Chief. 

'During the course of the war our troops were engaged on a front 
extending along the whole length of the Afghan frontier from Chitral on 
the north-east to Seistan on the south-west, a total distance of about 
x,ooo miles; indeed, the fighting front may be said to have extended still 
further, for our line of communication defence troops on the 300 miles 
of road between Robat and Rui Khaf were kept constantly on their guard 
against raids from across the border and were at one time directly threat¬ 
ened by a small Afghan force which was detached from Herat towards 
the Persian frontier. Never before have simultaneous operations been 
undertaken on the frontier of India which have covered so wide an extent 
of front.’ 1 

The ascertained maximum trans-Indus British strength of 340,000, 
unlike the estimated Afghan strength of 35,260, included, of course, 
non-combatants, and the Afghans were thought to have been counting 
in A.D. 1919 on raising the unsubdued barbarians, on either side of 
the theoretical Indo-Afghan frontier, whose total strength in a levie 
en masse was estimated at approximately 120,000 rifles. Yet, even if 
Amanallah had not been disappointed in this hope (as in a.d. 1925 ‘Abd- 
al-Karim was to be disappointed in his similar hope of raising the tribes¬ 
men of the Atlas), and if the forces of the British Indian Empire had had 
to meet a combined force of 150,000 Afghan regular and tribal irregular 
barbarian fighting-men, their maximum total number of men employed 
trans-Indus would still have been more than double the total number of 
their adversaries; and, if the ratio of non-combatants to combatants in 
General Monro’s force in the spring of a.d. 1919 was the same, or 
thereabouts, as it was in the expeditionary force that was operating in 
Waziristan later in the same year, 2 this immense mobilization of man¬ 
power would only have enabled the British Indian Empire to meet the 
Afghan regular army and tribal levy with a combatant strength that, if 
the tribesmen had actually risen en masse, would have been no more 
than just equal to the barbarian enemy's combined total. 

The most significant point about this disparity between the efforts 
respectively required of the British and of their opponents on the 
North-West frontier of India in a.d. 1919 was that the disparity had 
recently begun to increase, as is revealed by a comparison of the 
Waziristan campaigns of a.d. 1917 and a.d. 1919 with their predecessors 
in the series. 

‘In spite of the ease with which the campaign of 1917 was brought to 
its conclusion, certain facts were already becoming patent. Whereas in 
i860 a single brigade had marched right through Waziristan without grave 
hindrance, and whereas in 1894 and 1901 widely separated columns were 
employed with impunity, yet for many years it was beginning to be 
believed that an invader of Waziristan must employ greater forces and 
observe greater precautions. Further, just as the MahsQds were acquiring 
more rifles of range and precision firing smokeless powder, and also 
exhibiting greater skill in their use, so the invader was ever inclined to 

1 Monro, op. at., § 27. 


a See pp. 22-23, above- 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 25 

resort to more scientific equipment and more impedimenta. In addition, 
public opinion now demanded more comforts for the troops, while a fresh 
difficulty was accruing out of the increasing number of medical units 
accompanying any expedition. Circumstances were thus all tending to 
complicate the transport problem and to augment the size of supply 
trains. Yet the lines of communication were unquestionably becoming 
more vulnerable than they were before the tribesmen possessed modern 
weapons. It was still necessary' to employ long convoys of primitive pack 
transport; even in 1919 motor transport was impracticable above the 
lower valleys.’ 1 

The same talc is told by the history of the Roman Imperial Army, 
which had, as we have seen, 2 to be progressively increased in numerical 
strength to offset the progressive increase in the military efficiency of 
the transfrontier barbarians whom it was its duty to hold at bay. When, 
early in the third century of the Empire’s existence, Scptimius Scverus 
{imperabat a . d . 193-211) added three new legions 1 to the thirty that had 
been maintained since a.d. 83* for the defence of the static frontiers that 
had been first marked out by Augustus {imperabat 31 b . c .- a . d . 14), the 
consequent additional strain on the Empire’s man-power and revenue 
was not very serious; but it was quite another matter when, early in the 
fourth century of the Empire’s existence, Diocletian {imperabat a . d . 
284-304) found himself compelled to raise the Army’s strength again, 
and this time from about 300,000 men to about 500,000. 


The Besieged Civilization's Inability to Redress the Balance by Recourse to 
Organization and Technique 

In an economically complex civilization with a money economy, any 
increase in the numerical strength of a regular standing army entails a 
corresponding increase in the pressure of taxation upon national income. 
The diversion of an intolerably large, and still insatiably growing, pro¬ 
portion of a dwindling national income to meet rising costs of public 
services is the most conspicuous of the social maladies that were the 
death of the Roman Empire in the West in the fifth century and in the 
Centre and East in the seventh century of the Christian Era; and, while 
one cause of this cancerous growth of the fiscal burden on the backs of the 
Roman Imperial Government’s subjects was an increase in the personnel 
of the Imperial Civil Service to fill an administrative vacuum arising 
from the progressive decay of local self-government, 1 a second cause— 
which would probably turn out to have been by far the more potent of 
the two, if all the relevant figures were known to us—was the increase in 
the man-power of the Imperial Army which was required in order to 
meet the increase in the transfrontier barbarians’ military efficiency. We 
do know that, in the annual budgets of the British Raj in India during 
the last century of its existence, the cost of defence (which, in practice, 
meant the defence of the North-West Frontier) was an item that absorbed 
a disconcerting proportion of the revenue. 6 


» de Watteville. op. cit., pp. 43 - 44 - , 

J In VI. vii. 156; 321, n. 2; and 3 * 3 . n. S- 1 See VI. vu. ij6. 

* See VI. vii. 321. n. 2. * See VI. vu. S9-60 and 166. 

* ‘The most striking feature on the expenditure side of the central budget is the very 



26 HEROIC AGES 

Thus, if the chronic warfare between the defenders and assailants of a 
limes is waged in terms of competitive staying power, the defence is 
bound to collapse sooner or later, since, so far as it is able to hold its 
own, it can achieve this only by exerting an effort which becomes more 
and more disproportionate to the effort exacted from its increasingly 
efficient barbarian adversaries. 1 In this situation there are two obvious 
courses to which the defence may resort in the hope of arresting, by one 
means or the other, this progressive deterioration of its own position. It 
can mobilize for the defence of the limes either its own capacity for 
organization and technique, in which a civilization is superior to its 
barbarian neighbours almost ex hypothesi, or its barbarian adversaries’ 
capacity for taking military advantage of the local terrain through which 
the limes runs. These two policies of elaborating its own organization 
and armaments and of recruiting barbarian man-power are not, of course, 
mutually exclusive, and a harassed Power behind a limes had usually 
resorted to both in its desperate search for some means of reversing the 
accelerating inclination of the scales of war in its barbarian opponents’ 
favour which is the inexorable effect of the passage of Time on a frontier 
where the civilized party is content to remain passive. 

In the last struggle for life of an Hellenic Civilization which had never 
been technical-minded and which had long since lost any faint pro¬ 
clivities in this direction that it might occasionally have displayed in 
earlier chapters of its history, it was not technique but organization that 
was called into play by Diocletian in his heroic attempt to solve a prob¬ 
lem of defence which had been shown to have become a question of life 
and death for the Roman Empire by the break-through of the trans¬ 
frontier barbarians into the interior of the Empire on all fronts during 
the anarchic years a.d. 235-84. 

Diocletian’s solution was to reorganize completely the Roman 
Imperial system of defence which had been left unchanged in principle 
during the three centuries that had elapsed since its original institution 
by Augustus. Augustus’s first concern had been to give the Hellenic 

high proportion of the expenditure on defence, which, under a scheme introduced in 
19*8-29, has been stabilised for a period of 4 years at Rs. 55 crorcs per year. This 
figure is over 60 per cent, of the total central revenues, and nearly a third of the total 
net centra! and provincial revenues of the country taken together’ (Report of the Indian 
Statutory Commission, presented May 1930, vol. i (London 1930, H.M. Stationery 
Office, Cmd. 3568), § 413. P- 36a). 

' The difference in the degree of the effort required from a civilized army and from a 
barbarian war-band in order to produce an equal quantum of military effect was once 
expressed in quaintly concrete financial terms by a correspondent of the present 
writer's in a comparison between the respective performances of the British Army and 
the Hijfizi Army against the Turkish Army in the General War of a . d . 1914-18. ‘From 
first to last, the military operations of the Hijazi Army accounted for 65,000 Turkish 
troops at the cost of less than £100 per head of subsidy, whereas, in the firitish Army’s 

E ns against the Turks, each Turkish casualty or prisoner cost from £1,500 to 
(Toynbee, A. J.: Suney of International Affairs , 1925. vol. i (London 1927, 
), p. 283, n. 2). 

Ibn Khaldun ( Muqaddamdt , translated by dc Slane, Baron Mc.G. (Paris 1863-8, 
Imprimcrie Impiriale, 3 vols.), vol. ii, pp. 92-94), propounds, as a general ‘law’, a ten¬ 
dency for the burden of taxation in an empire to grow heavier with the lapse of time, 
but (thinking, as he does, exclusively in terms of empires founded by Nomad bar¬ 
barians) he attributes this tendency to increasing demands of the imperial government 
for defraying rising costs of living incurred by the ruling elements. He makes no 
mention in this passage of rising costs of imperial defence. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 27 
World the maximum opportunity of recuperating from the exhaustion 
produced by a hundred years of social revolution rankling into civil war, 
and one of his measures for attaining this end had been to reduce to a 
minimum the swollen armies that had been mobilized for this fratricidal 
warfare in the last paroxysm of an Hellenic Time of Troubles. Apart from 
a modest personal body-guard, he had provided in his permanent mili¬ 
tary establishment for nothing in the nature of a reserve. His troops of 
the line barely sufficed to demarcate the Imperial frontiers; they were, 
in fact, little more than a police-cordon; and, for the security of the 
interior of the Empire, the Augustan regime relied, in lieu of an adequate 
provision for defence, on the superiority of its professional army over 
the transfronticr barbarians in military quality and on the awe inspired 
by Roman power, which might be expected to deter the barbarians 
from putting the Imperial defences to any serious practical test. 1 By 
Diocletian’s day this hazardously economical security system had long 
since gone bankrupt; for the military efficiency which the barbarians 
had been progressively acquiring in the school which the limes afforded 
had eventually given them both the nerve and the skill to break through 
the cordon confining them; and in such an emergency the Imperial 
Government’s only means of repairing one breach was to risk another 
by denuding some distant sector of the frontier that happened at 
the moment to be quiescent. Though the Romans held the interior 
lines and could avail themselves of easy and rapid water-transport 
across the maritime heart of their empire for shuttling troops from 
one breached frontier to another, the system was radically unsound, and 
Diocletian reformed it by taking a cue which Scptimius Severus had 
given to his successors when he had placed one of his three new legions 
in reserve at Albano. Diocletian organized a reserve which amounted in 
numbers to perhaps not much less than two-fifths of the total strength 
of a military establishment that was perhaps larger by two-thirds than 
the Severan ; J the best units in the Army were assigned to this new force ; 3 
and it was designed to be as mobile as the raiding barbarian war-bands 
which it was its task to overtake, bring to battle, and destroy. 4 

From the scientific standpoint of a professional soldier, this Diocletia- 
nic system of substituting defence in depth for linear defence by organiz¬ 
ing a mobile reserve in support of the front line represents a notable 
advance in the art of war; and it was no doubt partly owing to this 
military reform that the Empire—which had seemed to be in the throes 
of dissolution during the half century immediately preceding Diocle¬ 
tian’s accession—actually held out for a hundred years longer in the 
West and for three hundred years longer in the East and Centre. Yet, 
though the civilian population might find the conditions of the Dio- 
cletianic Age a relief from those of the foregoing bout of anarchy, they 
would have been happy indeed to exchange them for those of the 
militarily archaic Augustan Principate. 


'he greatness of the Roman People has propagated an awe of them beyond the 
and beyond the Empire's established limits’ (Tacitus: Germania, chap, xxix. 


« ’The 

Rhine . _ . _ ■ . 

§3, apropos of the relation of a transfrontier Teuton community, the Mattiaci, to the 
Roman Empire in the writer's day). 1 See VI. vii. 323, n. 5. 

> See VI. vii. 322. « See VI. vii. 323. 



28 HEROIC AGES 

The truth is that Diocletian’s professionally admirable military re¬ 
organization dealt the civilian population a double blow. On the one 
hand the belated provision of a numerically sufficient mobile reserve 
accounted for that huge increase in the total military establishment 
which had, as we have seen, 1 to be paid for by the higher taxation of a 
lower national income. On the other hand the concentration of the Hite 
of the Army in the mobile reserve still further lowered the moral, as well 
as the efficiency, of the cordon-troops (now explicitly called limitanei, 
to distinguish them invidiously from the comitatenses serving in the 
Emperor’s counter-war-band); the last pretence of the Army’s being 
able to hold the barbarians at the limes was now virtually abandoned; 
and it came to be taken for granted that the war-zone, in the warfare 
between the Roman Imperial Army and its barbarian adversaries, was 
no longer the glacis on the barbarians’ side of the limes, and no longer 
even the marches of the Empire in the limes' immediate rear, but terri¬ 
tories in the interior that were the Empire’s economic and cultural vitals. 
The scientifically impeccable watchword of ‘defence in depth’ was, in 
fact, a euphemism for glozing over the humiliating and disastrous fact 
that the civilian producer of the national income, after he had been 
fleeced once by the Imperial inland revenue authorities to pay for a vast 
increase in the Imperial military establishment, was now exposed to the 
additional affliction of being fleeced for a second time by barbarian 
raiders whom the Diocletianic new-model army could not, after all, 
prevent from ravaging the Empire's heartlands. 2 

This attempt to solve the problem of defence by an improvement in 
organization, which was such a brilliant failure in the military history of 
the Diocletianic Roman Empire, had brought in better returns to 
Powers burdened with anti-barbarian frontiers in a Modern Western 
World. General Sir C. C. Monro’s lightning victory over the Afghans 
in a . d . 1919 was a triumph of organization in a sudden emergency; 
Marshal Lyautey’s gradual pacification of the Atlas highlands between 
a . d . 1907 and a . d . 1934 3 was a still more signal triumph of organization 
applied to the deliberate execution of a long-term plan; and these are 
merely two illustrations out of a multitude lying ready to the historian’s 
hand. In the policy of Modem Western imperial governments, however, 
the resort to organization as a means of redressing an unfavourably 
inclining balance in the defence of a limes was overshadowed by the 
resort to technique in an age when Western technology was advancing 
at an unprecedented pace into a previously undreamed-of wonderland of 
scientific discover}’ and practical ‘know-how’. 

In such circumstances the Western parties to the conflict between 
Civilization and Barbarism might well feel confident of being able to set 
so hot a pace in the progressive application of technology to border war¬ 
fare that their barbarian competitors would find themselves run off their 

* On p. 25. above. 

1 This is the burden of Zosimus’s critique of the Diocletianic reorganization of the 
Roman system of imperial defence (see VI. vii. 320, n. 6). 

J Marshal Lyautey himself retired in a.d. 1925, nine years before his work was com¬ 
pleted by his successors; but the credit for the whole achievement morally belongs to 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 29 
feet. If the barbarian had shown himself able to procure from abroad 
and even passably imitate at home a relatively simple product of the 
Modern Western technique, such as an up-to-date breach-loading rifle, 
was it not the obvious retort for his Western adversary to raise the 
technological level of competition in armaments from small-arms to 
artillery, from fire-arms to the aeroplane, and—in terms of the release of 
atomic energy—from the non-fissile to the fissile type of explosive for 
the manufacture of bombs? For, even if the barbarian could procure 
aeroplanes from abroad and could learn to become as skilful an air-pilot 
as he had already become a marksman, it was hardly conceivable that he 
could provide for the servicing of aeroplanes, not to speak of installing 
the plant for manufacturing them, and it was virtually out of the ques¬ 
tion for him to procure atom bombs from abroad, and quite out of the 
question for him to acquire and apply the ‘know-how’ of manufacturing 
them and detonating them. When Western Man had crowned a century 
of scientific achievement by discovering how to harness atomic energy 
to the service of War, it looked indeed as if it now lay in his power (if he 
could reconcile this with his conscience) literally to annihilate the last 
surviving rearguards of Barbarism in their last remaining pockets of 
unsubdued territory—always supposing that these condemned barbarian 
prisoners of a ubiquitous industrial Western Civilization were not 
reprieved, after all, by seeing the Western masters of the World destroy 
one another first in an atomic fratricidal warfare. 

This thesis that technique is a winning card in Civilization’s hand is 
forcefully presented in a passage from the pen of a brilliant observer of a 
campaign in which a Modern Western Power overthrew a barbarian 
opponent on his own ground by bringing into action against him the 
Western technique of the Pre-Atomic Age. 

‘Haifa is nearly four hundred miles from the Atbara; yet it was the 
decisive point of the campaign; for in Haifa was being forged the deadliest 
weapon that Britain has ever used against Mahdism—the Sudan Military 
Railway. In the existence of the railway lay all the difference between the 
extempore, amateur scrambles of Wolscley’s campaign and the machine- 
like precision of Kitchener’s. When Civilisation fights with Barbarism it 
must fight with civilised weapons; for with his own arts on his own ground 
the barbarian is almost certain to be the better man. To go into the Sudan 
without complete transport and certain communications is as near mad¬ 
ness as to go with spears and shields. Time has been on the Sirdar’s side, 
whereas it was dead against Lord Wolseley; and of that, as of every point 
in his game, the Sirdar has known how to ensure the full advantage. There 
was fine marching and fine fighting in the campaign of the Atbara; the 
campaign would have failed without them; but without the railway there 
could never have been any campaign at all. The battle of the Atbara was 
won in the workshops of Wady Haifa.’ 1 

By thus availing himself of a modem Western technology's earliest 
achievement in the field of mechanical transport, a British general who 
had been trained as a military engineer was able, in a.d. 1898, to re¬ 
conquer, in little more than six months, an Eastern Sudan whose war- 

1 Stcevenj, G. W.: With Kitchener to Khartum (Edinburgh and London 1898, Blade- 
wood), chap. 3, ad init., pp. 22-23. 


30 HEROIC AGES 

like barbarian denizens, in a.d. 1881-5, had thrown off a sixty-years-old 
Egyptian domination and had signally defeated the hazardously amateur 
efforts which Egypt’s British conquerors had made at the eleventh hour 
to salvage a crumbling Egyptian regime without having time to employ 
those scientific methods by which Kitchener was subsequently to retrieve 
his predecessors’ disastrous failures. This victory of a British-built rail¬ 
way over the Madhist barbarians of the Eastern Sudan in a.d. 1898 had 
been anticipated by the victory of a Russian-built railway over the 
Turkmen barbarians of Transcaspia in a.d. 1873-86,' and that triumph 
of Western technique in the hands of Orthodox Christian converts to a 
Western technological civilization was still more impressive than its sub¬ 
sequent emulation by the countrymen of George Stevenson, who might 
have been expected to be the first in the field in any application of a 
technical device that was an English invention. 

A generation later, when this Western feat of harnessing steam-power 
had been eclipsed by the more extraordinary feat of harnessing atomic 
energy, it was a temptation for Western minds to assume that the prob¬ 
lem of anti-barbarian frontiers had now been solved decisively by the 
progress of Western technology up to date. At the time of writing, how¬ 
ever, atomic energy had not yet been used for the destruction of either 
Barbarism or Civilization; and the recent experience of Western Powers 
in trying to offset their barbarian opponents’ skill in adapting the use of 
Modem Western weapons and tactics to the local terrain by bringing 
into action, on their own side, additional Modern Western weapons, of 
ever more elaborate kinds, had demonstrated that the elaboration of 
technique, like the elaboration of organization, carried with it certain 
inherent drawbacks in addition to the untoward social effect of its 
crushingly heavy cost to the tax-payer and the untoward educational 
effect of its initiation of the barbarian into the ever more formidable 
tricks of his civilized adversary’s trade. 1 These inherent drawbacks to 
an elaboration of technique might go far towards neutralizing even the 
military effect of this expedient for redressing the balance of power 
between Civilization and Barbarism along a static limes. 

These limitations upon the effectiveness of Technology as one of 
Civilization’s weapons against Barbarism are illustrated by the history 
of the Waziristan campaign of a.d. 1919-20. At the opening of these 
operations ‘the efficiency of the troops in India had sunk to a lamentably 
low ebb,’ 3 and 'it became manifest, soon after the expedition set out, that 
there was no alternative but to rely on a liberal employment of artillery 
and on a lavish expenditure of ammunition and of engineer stores to 
counterbalance the initial lack of skill displayed by the troops’. 4 In this 
campaign, in the end, ‘the aeroplane, the howitzer, the gun, and the 

' See V. V. 223, n. 3, and p. 139, below. 

* .‘The development of any strategic perception or of a more far-seeing or reasoned 
leading among the frontier tribes is perhaps improbable. On the other hand, should 
any such tendencies creep into their conduct of war, and should the tribesmen ever, 
by any chance, be supported by skilled advice, or find themselves in the possession of 
efficient artillery, numerous machine guns or stocks of grenades and analogous adjuncts 
of war, the prospect of entering on a campaign of this nature without highly trained 
troops is not alluring' (dc Watteville, op. cit., p. 210). 

* Ibid. * Ibid., p. 91. 


THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 3 * 
grenade’ duly ‘redressed the balance’ 1 which had been inclined in the 
Mahsud barbarian’s favour by his superiority to the British Indian 
soldier in individual prowess as a fighting-man using a Modem Western 
rifle on his own intractable ground. But the British expeditionary force’s 
dependence on an elaborate equipment proved a source of weakness in 
two respects. In the first place, ‘under conditions where the capacity of 
the transport constitutes a dominant factor, the greater the skill and 
mobility of the troops, the smaller the amount of stores and of transport 
required, and the greater the resultant freedom of action in the conduct 
of the operations.’ 2 The British expeditionary force’s dependence on 
equipment tied it by the leg, 3 and in the second place the military 
advantage purchased at this high cost in loss of mobility was at a mini¬ 
mum on this terrain. ‘The tactical methods permissible in the great 
struggle in Flanders’ did not ‘turn out appropriate to the nature of 
Indian mountain warfare’. 4 

‘Where large masses can be used, where artillery and high explosive 
predominate, certain tactical processes of a rather crude nature can be 
employed, and the training of the individual can remain more elementary. 
... But on the Indian frontier the case is very different. In mountain war¬ 
fare, as it still remains in spite of all progress achieved in modem military 
equipment, numbers will rarely be present, while the enemy is particularly 
expert in the use of ground and of the rifle. Those who attack such a 
formidable fighting man, over terrain of his own choosing, must be able 
to compete with him individually on more or less level terms. Otherwise 
the handicap becomes too great. . . . The soldier required for frontier 
warfare must be trained for the end in view. 5 . . . The incidents of the 
campaign of 1919-20 . . . prove in the most unmistakable fashion the 
value, or rather the absolute necessity, of a very high standard of in¬ 
dividual training among all combatant troops employed in a mountain 
expedition.’ 6 

The Barbarians' Military Elusiveness and Economic Parasitism 

The technique which thus proved to be no adequate substitute for 
personal skill and prowess on the civilized belligerent’s side had a 
further drawback that was still more disconcerting: its hammer-blows 
were apt to beat the air 7 without inflicting any decisive damage on a tar¬ 
get which was as elusive and intangible as the armaments brought to 
bear against it were unwieldy. 

While, at the time of writing, it seemed possible, as has been sug¬ 
gested, 8 that the recent Western invention of the atom bomb might 
prove physically capable of eliminating once for all a pocket of un¬ 
subdued Barbarism, even in trackless mountain country, by literally 
annihilating all life within the recalcitrant area, it was perhaps doubtful 
whether even this tremendous weapon, however ruthlessly employed, 


» Ibid., p. 208. J Ibid., p. 91. 

> Sec Toynbee, A. J.: Survey of International Affairs, 1925, vol. i (London 1927, 
Milford), pp. 557 - 3 . 4 de Watteville, op. cit., p. 209. 

s Ibid., p. 209. 6 Ibid., p. 208. 

r The civilized belligerent’s difficulty in deciding upon hu military objective—not 
to speak of attaining it when it has been fixed—is touched upon in dc Watteville, op. 
cit., pp. 89 and 166. s On p. 30, above. 


32 HEROIC AGES 

could exterminate the Nomad barbarians of Arabia and the Sahara who 
were still eluding effective control by the sedentary Powers that were 
their nominal sovereigns. The taming of these Afrasian Nomads had 
been facilitated, as we have seen, 1 by the pre-atomic Western invention 
of mechanically driven vehicles whose caterpillar tracks could carry them 
over mud and sand; but the Nomad denizen of the Steppe enjoyed a 
social advantage in his contest with a sedentary antagonist which could 
not be impaired by any technical change in the conditions of warfare 
on his terrain. In the past, this Nomad type of transfrontier barbarian 
had notoriously been the most difficult for the Power behind the limes 
to cope with, because he was unhampered by the possession of immov¬ 
able property, so that his civilized assailant had no definite objective at 
which to aim and no power of bringing this mobile enemy to battle by 
threatening some fixed asset of his which he could not afford to leave 
undefended. The classical exposition of this invincible elusiveness of 
the Nomad is given in Herodotus’s account of the Achaemenian empire- 
builder Darius the Great’s unsuccessful attempt to incorporate in his 
dominions the Great Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe by subduing 
its Scythian rangers of that day. After marching and counter-marching 
over the face of the Steppe without coming any nearer to bringing the 
Scythians to battle, 

'Darius sent a despatch-rider to the King of the Scythians, I dan thyrsus, 
with the following message: "You are a queer fellow! I cannot under¬ 
stand why you keep perpetually on the run when you have two alternatives. 
If you consider yourself a match for my force, for God’s sake stop this 
dodging, stand your ground, and fight; but, if you know in your heart 
that you are outclassed, then, if that is the position, again I say: for God’s 
sake stop trekking, bring me offerings of earth and water as acknowledg¬ 
ments that I am your lord and master, and then we can start talking." 
Idanthyrsus’s answer to this overture was as follows: "Master Persian, 

I will put my cards on the table. Never in my life have I run away from 
anybody out of fear—never in the past, and not now from you. What you 
have found me doing now is exactly what I habitually do in peace-time; 

I have made no change. And now I will explain, too, why I do not 
promptly give you battle. The reason is that we possess neither cities 
that we might be afraid of your capturing nor plantations that we might 
be afraid of your cutting down, so there is nothing to push us into fighting 
a pitched battle with you. But, if you really have to be in such a hurry to 
seek a decision, let me tell you that we do have tombs in which our 
ancestors lie buried. Now, just you find those tombs and try to desecrate 
them, and then you will discover whether we shall fight you for those 
tombs or not. Short of that, we shall not engage you unless we see reason 
for doing so.’* 

While the Nomad herdsman on the Steppe thus provides a classical ’ 
illustration of the transfrontier barbarian’s elusiveness, the sedentary 
highlander barbarian’s way of life neutralizes the effect of the elaborate 
weapons of Civilization to a hardly lesser degree by the same retort of 
denying them an adequate target. It is true that the sedentary barbarian 


1 On p. 19, above. 

* Herodotus: Book IV, chaps. 116-7. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 33 
has given some vulnerable hostages to Fortune. The Power behind the 
limes may retaliate for the wild highlander’s raids into imperial territory 
by destroying the offending war-band’s villages and burning its crops; 
and in the Air Age the champions of Civilization could take these 
punitive measures without having to follow the toilsome and risky 
traditional course of marching an expeditionary force on foot into the 
highlander’s fastness. They could send over a few aircraft to do, in a few 
minutes, without hazard to themselves, a stint of destruction that might 
have cost a ground-force weeks of fighting and hundreds of casualties; 
yet nothing is gained by any improvement in the technical means of 
executing a military operation when the operation itself is intrinsically 
futile in the sense of being ineffective for producing its intended political 
result; and punitive measures against even a sedentary transfronticr 
barbarian are apt to achieve the very opposite of their purpose—which 
is to turn a brigand into a good neighbour. 

Depriving the barbarian of one season’s crop is an ineffectual measure 
of coercion so long as the barbarian himself lives to raise another crop 
next year (as he will, unless the work of destruction is repeated annually); 
and burning or bombing his house is likewise ineffectual when he is 
capable of rebuilding this crude structure of wattle and daub, or of un¬ 
hewn stones plastered over with mud, with his own hands in one winter, 
during spare months in which he can neither work in the fields nor go on 
the war-path.' This capacity of his for quickly repairing, by self-help, 
any material damage inflicted on him by the fortunes of war is one 
example of a general social ‘law’ that we have encountered in another 
context. 2 In warfare between antagonists that arc not on an equality in 
their level of civilization, the more highly civilized belligerent is apt to 
win victories that are pyrrhic because they leave the victor exhausted, 
while his less highly civilized opponent is apt to suffer defeats that arc 

« As the writer was penning these lines, he was having a vivid recollection of two 
meetings of his with a Turkish peasant in a village in Western Anatolia. When this 
kindly Turk first gave the writer hospitality in his house in the winter of A.D. 1920-1, 
the house and the whole village were intact, and, when the same host gave the same guest 
hospitality for the second time in the spring of a.d. 1923, he again had a house in which 
to receive a visitor, and this house was again surrounded by a cluster of other simple 
houses of the kind. If the visitor had not happened to know that, since his previous visit, 
the whole village had been rased to the ground in the last phase of the Graeco-Turkish 
war of a . d . 1919-22, he would never have guessed that the house in which he was being 
received on this second occasion was not physically the same house that had given him 
a night’s shelter before. The change that was manifest even to a foreigner's eye was not 
the loss and replacement of the house but the difference in the spirits of its owner. On 
the first occasion the Turkish householder had been patently depressed by the ex¬ 
perience of living under enemy occupation—the village being at that time on the Greek 
side of a Graeco-Turkish military’ front. On the second occasion, which was after the 
eventual Greek ddbficle, the village was free and the householder’s spirits were high. 
'All is well now-, you see’, he said. 'Those Greek soldiers are not here any longer. Yes, 
they burnt the village before they left, and my house with the rest—the house in which 
I had the pleasure of entertaining you last time you were passing this way. But, you see, 
we all built new houses for ourselves last winter, and now we have done our spring 
sowing, so the damage has been repaired and—we are also free men once more.’ 

The material standard of life in this West Anatolian Turkish village, which seemed 
primitive to a West European eye, would have seemed lordly to a contemporary Kurd 
from Dcrsim or Mahsud from Waiiristan; and thus the ability of this Turkish village 
community to reconstruct the material basis of its life in a single season gives the measure 
of the Kurd’s and the Pathan's capacity for economic recuperation on their own lower 
economic level. « In IV. iv. 393-4. 


B 2898. vui 


C 




34 HEROIC AGES 

inconclusive because of the recuperative power that is Nature’s com¬ 
pensation for the handicap of backwardness in organization. 

The operation of this law as between the East Roman Empire and 
Bulgaria in the tenth and eleventh centuries of the Christian Era proved 
to be the key to the subsequent collapse of the victor and revival of his 
victim, and we noticed in this connexion how, in the General War of 
a . d . 1914-18 and its immediate sequel, a highly organized Germany 
remained prostrate owing to the exhausting effect of her barren victories 
long after a relatively primitive Turkey and Russia had managed to take 
the field again notwithstanding their recent shattering defeats. The same 
‘law’ can be seen at work in the warfare between transfrontier barbarians 
and the Power behind the limes. So long as the people themselves are not 
physically annihilated—and a transfrontier barbarian has the proverbial 
nine lives of a cat—the barbarian belligerent cannot be brought to heel 
by destroying his rudimentary and readily replaceable property. So far 
from being an effective sanction, this punitive destruction of property 
has the effect of confirming him in the predatory way of life from which 
it is intended to deter him; for if the barbarian is exasperated—and, 
still more, if he is both exasperated and starved through being deprived 
by hostile military action of the product of even the modicum of peaceful 
handiwork that he has still been carrying on side by side with a guerrilla 
warfare that has already become his major occupation—the double 
pressure of necessity and resentment will move him more than ever to 
look for his livelihood to the deeds of war instead of to the works of 
peace. 

A consciousness of this ‘boomerang’ effect of punitive action perplexed 
the British guardians of the North-West Frontier of India during the 
last chapter of their stewardship. 

‘In common with all other peoples in a similar stage of social develop¬ 
ment, the Mahsuds possessed no organic centres, the destruction of which 
could so far impair their economic or social welfare as would infallibly 
bring them to their knees. Makin, one of their main centres of population, 
in addition to countless other villages, had been devastated during pre¬ 
vious campaigns by way of punitive retaliation, yet such measures had 
never effectually put an end to their perennial acts of brigandage. Fines 
had been levied, but the tribesmen had continued to retrieve such losses 
by plundering their weaker neighbours. Rifles had been confiscated (!), 
yet in the end this measure seemed only to encourage further thefts and 
murders in order to replace the (not numerous) surrendered weapons. 
There is a point beyond which reprisals cannot be carried without pro¬ 
voking undue exasperation or else bringing the subjects of this treatment 
to partial starvation, unless, indeed, the regular forces imitate the Ger¬ 
mans when they methodically drove the Hottentots into the Omaheke 
Desert—there to die of thirst. But on the [North-West] Frontier [of 
India], even apart from the ethical side of the question, such action is not 
practicable. . .. The success of any punitive expedition is best gauged by 
the permanence of the moral impression which it leaves on the un¬ 
civilised mind. ... In the case of the Mahsuds, punitive expeditions had 
failed to cause the desired moral impression for any length of time. ,, 


« de Watte ville, op. dt., pp. 92-93. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 35 

The ineffectiveness of the expedient of destroying a recalcitrant bar¬ 
barian’s property was indeed demonstrated afresh in the Waziristan 
campaign of a.d. 1919-20 when a British column at last reached the 
Mahsud ‘town’ of Kaniguram at the cost of nearly twelve weeks’ march¬ 
ing and fighting. 

‘Previous history . . . lends colour to the belief that the Mahsuds were 
convinced that the Striking Force had now nearly achieved its worst; it 
might still destroy Kaniguram, but must then retire. These things had 
happened before, and in any case would not very deeply affect any but 
the inhabitants of the place itself. The rifles would thus remain, while 
raiding and looting would eventually make good the losses incurred by 
the tribesmen during the campaign.’ 1 

'Much the same difficulty was to be experienced at Wana as had been 
encountered at Kaniguram.... The destruction of towers and of principal 
houses belonging to those sections [of the Wana Wazirs] known to be 
hostile was then taken in hand. But such measures did not appear to 
accelerate the rate of payment of the fine or of surrender of rifles. . . . 
Moreover, the majority of the more distant tribal sections, inhabiting 
districts bordering on Afghanistan, are virtually nomads owning no landed 
property, no dwellings, nor crops. They wander among the mountains of 
Waziristan and can take refuge across the Afghan border if hard pressed. 
The problem of bringing these people to submission seemed insoluble.’ 2 

The fact is that punitive measures defeat their own object by ac¬ 
centuating an already prevalent tendency in the transfrontier barbarian’s 
social evolution which is precisely what has made him such an awkward 
neighbour. 3 If the transfronticr barbarian had remained an unmodified 
primitive man living in the static Yin-state in which the genuinely 
primitive societies were found as far back in Time as the existing evidence 
carried a twentieth-century Western historian’s knowledge of them, a 
decidedly greater proportion of his total energies would have been 
devoted to the arts of peace and a correspondingly greater coercive effect 
would have been produced upon him by the punitive destruction of the 
products of his pacific labours. The tragedy of a ci-devant primitive 
society’s moral alienation from an adjoining civilization by which it has 
previously been attracted is that the consequent deterioration of their 
relation from one of progressive cultural radiation-and-mimesis to one of 
chronic hostilities leads the barbarian to neglect his former peaceful 
avocations in order to specialize in the art of border warfare—first in self- 
defence, in order to save himself from subjugation or annihilation at the 
hands of a civilization that has turned savage, and later—when his growth 
in military efficiency on his own terrain has gradually reversed the balance 
of military advantage in his favour—as an alternative means of making 
his livelihood. To plough and reap vicariously with sword and spear 4 is 
more lucrative for the barbarian now that a civilization which has been 
thrown on the defensive can be mulcted of its wealth by way of either 
loot or subsidies, and this is also more congenial to him now that the 

* Ibid., p. 16s. „ . 2 Ibid., pp. 175-6. 

* Thi* distinctive social evolution of the transfrontier barbarian has been touched 
upon, by anticipation, in V. v. 230-3, apropos of its reflection in the field of religion. 

« See Gilbert Murray’s translation of the song of Hybrias—an heir of barbanan Greek 
conquerors of a Minoan Crete—in III. iii. 87, n. 1. 



36 HEROIC AGES 

barbarian has become a warrior first and foremost and has remained only 
secondarily a husbandman. The barbarian adjoining a limes thus ceases 
to be economically self-supporting and becomes an economic parasite 
on the civilization on the other side of the military front. 1 

A classical illustration of this characteristic economic regression of the 
estranged barbarian proselyte of a disintegrating civilization is afforded 
by Tacitus’s description of the German denizens of the barbarian 
‘reservoir’ adjoining the Continental European times of the Roman 


1 While this economic retrogression of the barbarian in a ‘reservoir’ dammed back 
by a limes is one of the general effects of the erection of a timet in any physical environ¬ 
ment, the effect naturally varies in degree in proportion to the extent of the difference 
between the regions segregated from one another by the limes in point of relative 
economic attractiveness or unattractiveness. Es'idently the ‘reservoir’ barbarian will be 
the more prone to seek his livelihood by plundering his civilized neighbour’s garden 
than to seek it by cultivating his own wilderness, the more forbidding the wilderness is, 
and the more smiling the garden. A case in point is the poverty of the Pathan highlands 
bv comparison with the adjoining lowlands of Afghanistan as well as Pakistan (see 
Toynbee, A. J.: Survey 0/ International Affairs, 1925, vol. 1 (London 1927, Milford), 

PP Tis of some importance, because one of the considerations that are apt to 
decide an empire-builder to draw- his limes along a particular line, short of haying 
reached ‘a natural frontier’, is that, along this line, he has found himself at the limit of 
the area that he can reckon on being able to exploit economically, with profit to himself, 
by means of the economic technique of which he is master—at whatever stage of techno¬ 
logical ‘know-how’ he may happen to be at the time when he is choosing the line for 
his limes. This last qualification has to be added because a country-side that is econo¬ 
mically profitable for a society at one level of economic technique may be economically 
unprofitable for a society at another level. For the Romans round about the beginning 
of the Christian Era it was economically unprofitable to saddle themselves cither with 
North European territories in which the post-glacial forest still had the upper hand over 
a primitive agriculturist’s attempts to clear it, or with an Arabian desert which the 
sedentary husbandman could never hope to dispute with the stock-breeding Nomad. 
Accordingly the Romans drew their European limes just short of the coal-deposits in 
the Ruhr, and their Syrian limes short of the oil-deposits in Arabia. 

The Romans did not live to regret this economic blindness of theirs, since their empire 
came and went before the technique for turning coal and mineral oil to economic 
account was discovered by the latter-day children of a Western Civilization sprung 
ire’s ruins. On the other hand, there were Modem Western 


from the Roman 


m 


had lightheartedly disinterested themselves, in the belief that they were valueless, turn 
out to be of inestimable economic value in terms of new technological discoveries. The 
Powers more or less interested in a latter-day Arabia had no sooner completed the de¬ 
limitation of frontiers in that peninsula after the General War of a . d . 1914-18 than they 
were made aware, by the subsequent pioneer work of Western oil-prospectors, that 
the sub-soil of the deserts which they had been dividing between them by drawing 
imaginary straight lines on a small-scale non-gcological map was oozing with oil. An 
equally undreamed-of wealth of oil had likewise belatedly been discovered to underlie 
the surface of lands in the eastern part of the State of Oklahoma that had become the 
property of Indians descended from ‘the five civilized nations’ who had been relegated 
there since A.D. 1825 in the belief that, for the White Man, this was the least desirable 
piece of country within the whole vast area of the United States. In A.D. 19*2 there was 
a strange irony in the contrast between the respective current economic values of these 
oil-lands in Oklahoma, to which ‘the five nations’ had been deported, and {he cotton- 
lands in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, from which they had been evicted. A simi¬ 
lar reflection was suggested at the same date in England by the grass-clad solitudes 
that had replaced, on the Downs, the cultivation which the Roman had once found 
there in an age when the forest-clad plains of Britain were as inaccessible to the Celtic 
husbandman as the forest-clad plains of North America were to the Indian hunter at 
the time of the arrival of the White Man in the New World. 

On the morrow of a latter-day Western discovery of the technique of splitting the 
atom of one particular chemical clement, it looked as if a revaluation of the planet’s 
wealth in terms of uranium instead of gold might produce even more sensational 
surprises; and such surprises were bound to evoke correspondingly poignant regrets in 
the hearts of the makers of frontiers in a politically divided society embracing the entire 
surface of the globe. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 37 
Empire at a date by which this limes had been in existence for about a 
century and a half and had therefore had time to produce a limes’ 
typical social effects. Tacitus affirms 1 that cattle is the Germans’ sole 
form of wealth; but the relative unimportance of agriculture in the 
German economy of that day, which is implied in this and other 
passages of the Roman observer’s work, cannot have been due to 
ignorance or even to inexperience. 

'Archaeological investigation has now proved that the cultivation of 
cereals in the North of Europe goes back to the Stone Age. Of still greater 
importance is the discovery of the representation of a plough with two 
oxen among the rock-carvings at Tcgncby in Bohusliin, which date from 
the Bronze Age. However sceptical one may feel towards the dates fixed 
by archaeologists, this discovery shows without doubt that a highly de¬ 
veloped system of agriculture was practised in Sweden before the begin¬ 
ning of the Christian Era. Some other explanation of the accounts given 
by Caesar and Tacitus must therefore be found. What the true explana¬ 
tion is has been clearly shown by a careful examination of the various 
passages in which these writers refer to the subject. 1 The growth of the 
military spirit had led to a neglect of agriculture, as both writers 5 expressly 
state.’ 4 

This interpretation of the unimportance of agriculture 'in the 
economy of those Germans who were within range of Roman observa¬ 
tion in Tacitus’s day as being evidence, not of an infantile economic 
backwardness, but of a recent economic relapse from a higher pristine 

1 Tacitus: Germania, chap. 5. 

* ‘During the interval* between bouts of war, (the Germans] spend a little of their 
time in hunting, but most of it in doing nothing. They give themselves up to sleeping 
and eating, and it is precisely the bravest and most warlike of them that are the most 
idle. They lea% - e it to the women, the old men, and the unfit members of the family to 
look after the home, the household, and the field*, while the warriors laze. It is a curious 
incongruity in their character that they should so love sloth and at the same time *o 
hate tranquility' (Tacitus: Germania, chap. 15). 

J Whereas Tacitus attributes thi* neglect of agriculture to the Germans in general, 
without distinguishing in this matter between one Teutonic people and another, Caesar 
(Bellum GaUieum, Book IV, chap, i; cp. Book VI, chap. 22) attributes it to the Suebi 
in particular. The method, here ascribed by Caesar to the Suebi, of moving their quar¬ 
ter* every year and never cultivating the same piece of land a second time was remi¬ 
niscent of the primitive agriculture which Modern Western observers had seen prac¬ 
tised by Mayas in Yucatan (see II. ii. 418) and by Bantu peoples in Tropical Africa 
(see II. ii. 20-7). The Suebi were more remote from the Roman //met than the kindred 
Teutonic peoples to the west of them, and the explanation of their slovenliness in 
agriculture as being an effect of the limes is proportionately less convincing. At the same 
time, the hypothesis that they were recent initiates into the art of agriculture is un¬ 
tenable, in view of the fact that agriculture was long since well established among their 
northern neighbours in Scandinavia and their north-eastern neighbours in Estonia. 
A possible alternative explanation is suggested by a passage in Strabo ( Gtographiea , 
Book VII, chap, i, § 3, p. C 291) in which this Hellenic observer in the next generation 
after Caesar's ascribes to the Suebi a way of life which is not that of primitive cultivators 
but is that of the Eurasian Nomad stock-breeders. In Caesar’s and Strabo’s day the 
Suebi lived in a region between the south-eastern comer of the Baltic Sea and the north¬ 
western shore of the Great Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe which, in the sub¬ 
sequent map of Western Christendom, was to be occupied by Lithuania ar.d Poland; 
and the local Polish and Lithuanian variety of a Western culture was to be marked Iv 
affected by the radiation of cultural influences from an adjoining Nomadic World. 
Might not the Suebi have previously succumbed, in the same habitat, to the same 
influences from the same quarter?—A.J.T. 

4 Chadwick, H. M.: The Origin of the English Nation (Cambridge 1907, University 
Press), pp. 286-7. The quotations from this book have been made with the permission 
of the publishers. 



38 HEROIC AGES 

state, is confirmed by Tacitus’s own observation that the Ests (Aestii)— 
who were living then, as now, on the eastern seaboard of the Baltic— 
‘cultivate cereals and the other fruits of the Earth with an assiduity that 
stands out in contrast to the typical German sloth’. 1 The habitat of these 
virtuous Estonian husbandmen lay to the north-east of the Teutonic 
peoples’ domain and was thus at a farther remove from the birthplace 
of agriculture somewhere in South-Western Asia. In travelling from 
Asia into Europe round the head of the Great Western Bay of the 
Eurasian Steppe, which was the western tip of Nomad’s Land, the 
technique of agriculture could have reached Estonia only by way of 
Germany, and the German peoples who had passed the art on to the 
Ests must once have been not less good husbandmen than the Ests still 
were when they were observed by Tacitus’s informants. When we ask 
ourselves why Tacitus’s Ests should have retained their hold on agri¬ 
culture while Tacitus’s Germans had lost theirs, the obvious answer is 
that, by comparison with Tacitus’s Germans, the Ests were remote, not 
only from the South-East Asian birthplace of the ancient invention of 
agriculture, but also from the Central European location of a recently 
established limes of the Roman Empire. While the Germans adjoining 
this limfis had had their lives turned upside-down by the experience of 
living at close quarters with it, the Ests had been left still high and dry 
on the farther side of the ‘reservoir’ which the erection of the limes had 
created. The Ests were still industriously practising agriculture for the 
same reason that explains why the Suebi, Goths, and Swedes were still 
remaining loyal to a patriarchal form of kingship, in contrast to the 
political instability which the south-western Germans in the recently 
created ‘reservoir’ had been exhibiting when they had abandoned this 
same traditional form of government, first for an Hellenic-inspired olig¬ 
archy and latterly for the likewise Hellenic-inspired dictatorship of a 
war-lord backed by his war-band.* 

Moreover, there is evidence that these north-eastern Germans out 
of range of the Roman limes had preserved not only their pristine politi¬ 
cal institutions but also the pristine devotion to agriculture that was 
characteristic of their eastern neighbours the Ests in Tacitus’s time. 
When, some three or four hundred years later, the Germans in ‘the 
reservoir’ adjoining the Roman limes at last broke through the dam and 
flooded Gaul and Britain, the social and economic devastation which was 
the first effect of this cataclysm was followed, after the human flood 
waters had soaked into the social soil, by an economic advance that was 
the reward of a new agricultural technique, and this new technique 
had been introduced by the barbarian invaders. The Frankish and 

1 Tacitus: Germania, chap. ^5, § 4. 

* For the survival ot a primitive patriarchal monarchy among the Teutonic peoples 
out of range of the Roman limes, see Dawson, Christopher: Religion and ike Rise of 
Western Culture (London 1950, Sheed & Ward), pp. 70-8 x, as well as the present 
Study, V. v. 213, n. 1—citing Chadwick, op. cit.,pp. 298-9 (a passage which is based 
on Tacitus: Germania, chap. 44)—and V. vi. 230-2. The interpretation of the war-lord 
in the barbarian ‘reservoir 1 as a counterpart of the Caesar on the other side of a limes 
will be found in V. vi. 4, n. 4, and on p. ro, above. The general contrast between the 
revolution that overtakes the transfrontier barbarians of 'the reservoir’ and the still 
undisturbed life of the transreservoir barbarians in a Hyperborean ‘back of beyond’ 
has been noticed in II. ii. 315-22, and on p. 4, above. 




THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 39 
English war-bands brought with them into Northern Gaul and Eastern 
Britain the potent mould-board plough which, in the course of the Dark 
and Middle Ages, was to bring to fruition the latent fertility of heavy 
North European soils which had been impervious to the light plough 
used by Celts and Romans. Though, at the time of writing, Archaeology 
had not yet detected exactly when or where in Northern Europe this 
revolutionary technological invention had been made, it was manifest 
that it could not have been introduced into the former north-western 
provinces of the Roman Empire by transfronticr German invaders in the 
fifth century of the Christian Era unless these economically regressive 
barbarians had been able to learn—or re-leam—its use from north¬ 
eastern neighbours of theirs whose remoteness from a subversive Roman 
limes had permitted them still to follow their traditional way of life in an 
age in which the Germans in ‘the reservoir* had been demoralized by the 
military frontier’s proximity. 

A people that was still giving hostages to Fortune by still leading the 
pristine agricultural sedentary life of the Ests and Swedes of Tacitus’s 
day would evidently be more amenable than the elusive barbarians in 
‘the reservoir’ to the punitive action of a ‘civilized’ Power employing 
ponderous weapons; but the Power behind a limes has no quarrel with 
Hyperboraeans who arc not only innocent of offence against its imperial 
peace but are also insulated from any direct contact with its armed 
forces by ‘the reservoir' that lies between the limes and ‘the back of 
beyond’. The denizens of ‘the reservoir’ are the barbarians with whom 
the Power behind the limes is in a state of chronic war, and in this war¬ 
fare the economic regression that is the reverse side of the ‘reservoir’ 
barbarians’ militarization is the trump card in their hand. Thanks to 
this economic relapse, they have little material wealth to lose; and, hav¬ 
ing little to lose by war with the neighbouring civilization, they have 
little to fear from the continuance of hostilities, or indeed from their 
intensification. 


The Self-Defeat of a Policy of Setting a Thief to Catch a Thief 
This striking inequality in the material consequences of border war¬ 
fare for the two belligerents is reflected in a great and growing inequality 
between them in moral. For the children of a disintegrating civilization 
that is standing on the defensive—at any rate for a demilitarized majority 
of them in the interior, as distinct from a barbarized minority in the 
marches—the interminable border warfare with the barbarians beyond 
the limes spells the burden of an ever-increasing financial charge and the 
anxiety of a never solved military and political problem. For the bar¬ 
barian belligerent, on the other hand, the same warfare has the very 
opposite psychological associations. For him it is not a burden but an 
opportunity, not an anxiety but an exhilaration. A contest that is always 
harassing for the civilized party—and utterly devastating for him when 
he finds himself no nearer to being within sight of the end of it after he 
has mobilized all his resources of organization and technique—is the 
very breath of life for the militarized barbarian. This great and always 


40 .. HEROIC AGES 

increasing inequality in ‘psychological armament’ makes the discomfi¬ 
ture of the civilized belligerent inevitable sooner or later. 1 

In this situation it is not surprising that the party who is both author 
and victim of the limes should not resign himself to his doom without 
trying a last expedient. If his own resources have proved disappointingly 
inefficacious for redressing a balance that has been remorselessly inclin¬ 
ing against him, might he not be able to avert an otherwise manifest 
destiny by enlisting his barbarian adversary’s disastrously demonstrated 
prowess in a tottering civilization’s defence? If Brennus insolently threw’ 
his sword into the scale of Barbarism, why should not the scale of 
Civilization be saved, at the eleventh hour, from kicking the beam by 
deftly inserting into it the swords of a legendary Gallic barbarian’s living 
Teuton, Sarmatian, Hun, and Arab counterparts? 

This subtle policy of setting a thief to catch a thief might seem, indeed, 
to have everything to recommend it. The barbarian warrior is the citizen 
soldier’s superior in the art of border warfare because the barbarian is 
fighting here on his own familiar ground; and he has come to be also 
the citizen-soldier’s superior in personal prow r ess because he has 
acquired a zest for the profession of arms which his adversary has lost. 
This better military material can be purchased at a very much lower cost 
to the citizen-taxpayer; 2 and this cheap conversion of an enemy warrior 
into a friendly mercenary will doubly relieve the pressure on the limes 
by reducing pari passu both the power of the ‘reservoir’ barbarian to take 
the offensive and his incentive forgoing on the war-path. His power will 

1 This difference in altitude towards the ordeal of War likewise comes to light be¬ 
tween parties who are sundered from one another by a less deep and less sharply cut 
psychological gulf than that which divides the transfronticr barbarians from the Power 
behind the limes. 

In the summer of a.d. 1914, for example, the outbreak of war in Europe was taken 
more tragically by the peoples of the West than it was by the Serbs—though the Serbs 
had only just emerged from two successive Balkan Wars and were being called upon, 
this time, to face, not just Turkey or Bulgaria, but the overwhelmingly superior power 
of Austria-Hungary. Vet the Serbs were less dismayed by the prospect of this third war 
against enormous odds than they were exhilarated by the hope of this time being able 
—at the price of a holocaust—to complete the achievement of their national aspirations. 

The same spirit had been displayed repeatedly by the Poles, who were culturally 
much closer akin than the Serbs were to the Western Europeans. During the Peace 
Conference of a.d. 19x9 a friend of the writer’s, Mr. Laurence Hammond, who was in 
Paris for the occasion as the special correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, was 
talking one day about the peace settlement to a member of the Polish Delegation with 
a baffling sense that they were speaking at cross purposes. His Polish interlocutor must 
have had the same feeling; for, in the middle of the conversation, he remarked on this 
to the following effect: ‘The truth is that you and I are approaching these questions from 
entirely different points of view. For you Westerners, as I have realized, the war that we 
have just been through has been a hideous and disastrous break in the peace which 
you have come to think of as being the normal condition of civilized life; and, in your 
ideas about a peace settlement, the paramount consideration in your minds is to avoid 
anything that might threaten to involve you in another catastrophe of the kind. If you 
could not persuade yourselves that this last war was "a war to end war”, you would hardly 
be able to face the future. We Poles look at things quite differently. For us. War, not 
Peace, is the normal condition of life. We have been through many wars before this 
last one, and we expect to have to go through many more; but this docs not dismay 
us, and it certainly does not deter us from pressing our national claims. If we get what 
we are asking for, I agree that this may well involve us in future wars with our neigh¬ 
bours; but, lor us, that is all in the day’s work. No doubt we shall again find ourselves 
at war; no doubt we shall again suffer catastrophes that would seem crushing to you 
English and French; and no doubt, in the next chapter of the story after that, there 
will still be a Poland on the map.’ 

1 See p. 26, n. 1, above. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 4 x 
be reduced because his forces will now be divided (and every enlisted 
barbarian will count twice over in this redistribution of man-power, 
since he will be leaving one warrior the less to Barbarism in bringing one 
soldier the more to Civilization). At the same time the unenlisted bar¬ 
barian’s temptation to plunder his civilized neighbours will be appreci¬ 
ably diminished. Economic distress in a poverty-stricken and hitherto 
over-populated ‘reservoir’ will be mitigated by an outflow of man-power 
into the imperial forces on the other side of the limes and a consequent 
inflow of remittances from these mercenary barbarian soldiers’ pay (a 
payment for services rendered which is decidedly preferable, from the 
Imperial Power’s point of view, to the humiliating subsidies or plunder¬ 
ings that are the only too familiar alternative ways of effecting a transfer 
of purchasing-power which, in some form or other, is inevitable). If 
nevertheless an insatiable cupidity should entice the non-enlistcd bar¬ 
barian warriors into reverting to their traditional malpractices, they will 
now find themselves confronted, no longer by citizen-soldiers with no 
stomach for fighting, but by barbarian mercenaries who may be expected 
to give a good account of themselves—not only because they enjoy fight¬ 
ing and thirst for the fame that is the non-material reward of barbarian 
military prowess, but also because they will now have property of their 
own, on the civilized side of the limes, to defend against the covetous 
hands of their still predatory kinsmen from beyond the pale. 

This impressive consensus of considerations had frequently led the 
rulers of universal states both to enlist transfronticr barbarian soldiers 
in their standing armies and to plant transfronticr barbarian settlers on 
the imperial side of the limes, in the marches or even in the interior. 
These would-be measures of imperial defence have been examined 
in other contexts, 1 and the details need not be recapitulated here. In 
this place we need only recall our previous finding 2 that this alluring 
expedient for averting a collapse of the limes actually precipitates the 
catastrophe which it is designed to forestall, and we may proceed to in¬ 
quire into the explanation of this apparent paradox. 

Part of the explanation is, of course, to be found in tire consideration 
that, in taking "the barbarians into its service, the Power behind the times 
is also taking them into its confidence and is thereby subjecting them to 
an intensive course of instruction in a military and political ‘know-how’ 
which they can afterwards employ, if they choose, to their own profit at 
their teachers’ expense. 

'It can be said of the Roman, Chinese, and British Indian empires 
alike that the method that worked best was one of enlisting the services 
of the very tribes that were supposedly excluded by the boundary, thus 
turning them about so that they faced away from the boundary- instead 
of toward it. .. . Nevertheless, it was a method that haunted the imperial 
state responsible for it, because it created a sword of two edges capable 
of striking outward when held in a strong hand but of cutting inward 
when the hand weakened. From border societies of this kind, linked with 
boundary-maintaining empires, were drawn the ‘‘barbarian auxiliaries” 

' In V. v. 4S9~8 o, especially pp. 4&0 and 464. and VI. vii. 335-8. See also Chadwick, 
H. M.: The Heroic Age (Cambridge 191a, University Press), p. 445. 

s On pp. 12-13, above. 

B 2808 .vm 


C 2 


42 HEROIC AGES 

of Rome and the "tributary barbarians” of China; from a similar society 
the British Empire in India recruits both regular troops and tribal levies. 
From the same societies came invaders and conquerors of both Rome and 
China; and the people of the same kind with whom the British now 1 
deal arc as dangerous as they arc useful.’ 2 

This last point is pertinently illustrated by a feature of the Waziristan 
campaign of a.d. 1919-20. 

‘The presence in Waziristan of not less than eighteen hundred fighting 
men—consisting of deserters from the two militia forces and ex-soldiers 
of the Indian Regular Army—who had received some form of British 
training had familiarised the tribesmen with the most modern tactics in 
rifle-fighting, and they now possessed sufficient stocks of ammunition to 
employ these tactics effectively.’ 2 

In the history of the Roman Empire’s long-drawn-out struggle to 
arrest an inexorable inclination of the scales in the transfrontier barbar¬ 
ians’ favour, a comparable policy of enlisting barbarians to keep their 
fellow barbarians at bay similarly defeated itself—if we are to believe a 
hostile critic of the Emperor Theodosius I’s administration—by initiat¬ 
ing the barbarians into the Roman art of war and at the same time appris¬ 
ing them of the Roman Empire’s weakness. 

‘In the Roman forces, discipline was now at an end, and all distinction 
between Roman and barbarian had broken down. The troops of both 
categories were all completely intermingled with one another in the 
ranks; for even the register of the soldiers borne on the strength of the 
military units was now no longer being kept up to date. The [barbarian] 
deserters [from the transfrontier barbarian war-bands to the Roman 
Imperial Army] thus found themselves free, after having been enrolled 
in Roman formations, to go home again and send off substitutes to take 
their place until, at their own good time, they might choose to resume 
their personal service under the Romans. This extreme disorganization 
that was thus now prevalent in the Roman military formations was no 
secret to the barbarians, since—with the door thrown wide open, as it 
had been, for intercourse—the deserters were able to give them full 
intelligence. The barbarians' conclusion was that the Roman body politic 
was being so grossly mismanaged as positively to invite attack.’ 4 

When such well-instructed mercenaries change sides en masse, it is no 
wonder that they arc often able to give the coup de grdee to a tottering 
Power behind the limes, which has enlisted their services as a last resort. 
But we have still to explain why they should be moved, as they so 
frequently are, to turn against their employers. When once they have 
been taken into the Imperial Power’s service, does not their personal 
interest coincide with their professional duty r The regular pay that they 
are now drawing from the Imperial Treasury is both more lucrative and 
more secure than the plunder that they used to snatch at the risk of their 
lives in occasional raids; the rich land assigned to them by the Imperial 

1 This passage was written in or before a.d. 1940.—A.J.T. 

1 Lattimore, O.: Inner Asian Frontiers of China (New York 1940, American Geo¬ 
graphical Society), pp. 245-6. 

1 Toynbee. A. J.: Survey of International Affairs, 1025. vol. i (London 1927, Milford), 
p. 557- 4 Zoaimus: Histonae, Book IV, chap, xxxi, §§ 1-3. 



THE ACCUMULATION OF PRESSURE 4 3 
authorities inside the limes is an equally advantageous exchange for the 
wretched land beyond the pale that was too poor to keep them alive if 
they did not eke out its scanty produce by lifting crops and cattle, on 
the civilized side of the limes, which are now theirs to enjoy by right. 
Does not this change in their fortunes give them a stake in the survival 
of the empire thanks to whose patronage the change has come about? If 
they turn against the masters whom they have contracted to serve on 
such favourable terms as these, are they not virtually inviting their kins¬ 
men who have stayed beyond the pale to scramble with them for benefits 
that remain their own monopoly so long as they keep the limes inviolate ? 
Why, then, turn traitor? Cui bono? 

The single answer to all these questions is that, in turning against the 
empire which he has been hired to defend, the barbarian mercenary 
is indeed acting against his own material interests, but that in doing this 
he is not doing anything peculiar. Man seldom behaves primarily as 
homo economicus, and the behaviour of a transfrontier barbarian in the 
service of the Power behind the limes is determined by an impulse that 
is stronger than any economic considerations. The governing factor in 
the situation is that the barbarian beyond the pale has long since become 
estranged from a broken-down neighbouring civilization. This moral 
breach between the two parties cannot be mended by a business deal— 
however profitable to both sides the bargain may be. An unreconciled 
estrangement will prevent the barbarian who has enlisted in the Im¬ 
perial Government’s service from being assimilated to the culture of 
the society which he has contracted to defend by force of arms; and, 
if enlistment will not lead to assimilation, the policy of enlistment cannot 
succeed. 

The truth is that, in enlisting the barbarian in its sendee, the Power 
behind the limes is attempting, under altogether unpropitious psycho¬ 
logical conditions, to recapture the relation between Barbarism and Civi¬ 
lization that prevailed in days when the civilization had not yet broken 
down and the limes had not yet come into existence. The defence of the 
civilization by an inner ring of barbarians against an outer ring of bar¬ 
barians was something that happened of itself, without any contract 
between the parties, so long as a growing civilization was attracting the 
barbarians by its charm. Under these psychological conditions an inner 
ring of barbarians served spontaneously both as a conductor through 
which the civilization radiated its cultural influence into barbarian 
societies at a farther remove and as a buffer which absorbed the shocks 
of these outer barbarians’ attempts to take by force 1 a cultural kingdom 
which, in its heyday, had for them the fascination of the Kingdom of 
Heaven. In these happy psychological circumstances the inner barbarian 
proselytes of one day became the cultural converts of the next, while 
today’s outer barbarian assailants became tomorrow’s inner barbarian 
proselytes. The growing civilization progressively extended its borders 
through the successive assimilation of one ring after another of its 
barbarian neighbours—a very different story from the subsequent 
history of a broken-down civilization’s expansion by force, up to the 

« Matt. xi. 12. 



44 HEROIC AGES 

limit to which sheer force could carry it, at the expense of barbarians 
whom it lias ceased to charm. 

The reason why, after the breakdown of the civilization and the 
erection of the times, the enlisted barbarians do not remain loyal is that, 
in the mercenary barbarian’s soul, his business contract with his 
civilized employer is not underwritten by any desire to share in the 
civilization which he has undertaken to defend in return for a material 
quid pro quo. The direction of the current of mimesis has indeed, as we 
have seen,* long since been reversed, and, so far from Civilization’s re¬ 
taining any prestige in the barbarian’s eyes, it is the barbarian who now 
enjoys prestige in the eyes of the representative of Civilization. 

‘Early Roman history has been described as the history of ordinary 
people doing extraordinary things. In the Later Empire it took an extra¬ 
ordinary man to do anything at all, except carry on a routine, and, as the 
Empire had for centuries devoted itself to the breeding and training of 
ordinary men, the extraordinary men of its last ages—Stilicho, Aetius, 
and their like—were increasingly drawn from the Barbarian World.’ 2 

While Stilicho was a barbarian, and an exceptionally loyal one, in the 
Roman Imperial service, Aetius was a barbarized Roman marchman; 3 
and it was not only in the Roman Empire in extremis that this assimilation 
of the marchman to the barbarian occurred. On the Central Asian times 
of the Han Empire and its avatars, ‘in entering "un-Chinese” terrain the 
Chinese had to modify or abandon their Chinese economy, thus weaken¬ 
ing their attachment to other Chinese’. 4 This reversal of the direction of 
the current of mimesis is fatal for a policy of enlisting Barbarism in 
Civilization’s defence. In these psychological circumstances a corps of 
barbarian foederati will never turn into a unit of the Imperial Regular 
Army; it will remain an unassimilated barbarian war-band retaining its 
own weapons and tactics, taking its orders from its own war-lord, feeling 
its own esprit de corps, nursing its own ambitions. In the same circum¬ 
stances a settlement of barbarian laeti 5 will never turn into a civil com¬ 
munity of imperial citizens; it will remain an unassimilated imperium in 
imperio which, short of being annihilated, will find its political destiny 
sooner or later in becoming the nucleus of a dissident successor-state. In 
short, the policy of hiring barbarians to keep their kinsmen out is fore¬ 
doomed to failure; and, as this expedient is the last forlorn hope of the 
tottering Power behind the limes, its failure is immediately followed by 
the times' collapse. 

1 In V. v. 459-80, and on pp. 14-15. above. 

1 Collingwood, R. G., in Collingwood, R. G., and Myres, J. N. L.: Roman Britain 
and the English Settlements, 2nd ed. (Oxford 1937, Clarendon Press), p. 307. 

> See the passage quoted from Lot in V. v. 472. 

* Lattimore, O.: Inner Asian Frontiers of China (New York 1940, American Geo¬ 
graphical Society), pp. 243-4. Cp. the passage already quoted on p. 14. above. 

* See VII. vi. 138-9. 



D. THE CATACLYSM AND ITS 
CONSEQUENCES 

A Reversal of Roles 

W HEN a barrage bursts, the whole body of water that has been 
gradually accumulating in the reservoirabovc the dam runs violently 
down a steep place into the sea 1 in the twinkling of an eye, and this 
sudden release of a long-pent-up and ever-mounting force produces a 
threefold catastrophe. In the first place the flood destroys the works of 
Man in the cultivated lands below the broken barrage. In the second 
place the potentially life-giving water that has made this devastating 
passage pours into the sea and becomes lost in the sea-water’s saline 
mass, without ever having served Man for his human purposes of irriga¬ 
tion or navigation or the generation of hydraulic power. In the third 
place the discharge of the accumulated waters empties the artificial lake 
above the barrage and leaves its margin high and dry, and this flight of 
the waters from above the dam dooms the exotic vegetation which had 
found an unexpected possibility of life at the stored-up water’s edge to 
wither away without propagating its kind on a mountain-side that has now 
relapsed into its pristine barrenness. In short, the waters which fructified 
so long as the barrage held, make havoc everywhere, in the lands that 
they lay bare as well as in those that they submerge, so soon as the burst¬ 
ing of the barrage releases them from the control which the existence of 
the barrage had imposed upon them. 

This episode in Man’s contest with Physical Nature is an apt simile 
of what happens in Man’s struggle with Human Nature, in his neigh¬ 
bours and in himself, upon the collapse of the military barrage of a limes. 
The resulting social cataclysm is a calamity for all concerned; but in the 
human, as in the physical, disaster the incidence of the devastation is 
unequal, and in this case likewise the distribution of the damage is the 
reverse of what might have been expected a priori. There is, in fact, here 
a paradoxical reversal of roles.® So long as the representatives of a 
disintegrating civilization were successful in saving a tottering limes from 
collapse, the tribulation which it cost them to perform this tour deforce 
was progressively aggravated, as we have seen, 1 out of all proportion to 
the progressive increase in the pressure exerted by the transfrontier 
barbarians. On the other hand, now that the disaster, so long dreaded 
and so long averted by the Power behind the limes, has at last duly 
descended upon the doomed civilization’s devoted head, the principal 
sufferers arc no longer the ex-subjects of the defunct universal state, over 
whose fields and cities the deluge of barbarian invasion now rolls 
unchecked, but the ostensibly triumphant barbarians themselves. The 
hour of their triumph, for which they have thirsted so long, proves to be 

« Matt. via. 32; Mark v. 13; Luke viii. 33. ..... . ... 

a The play of this ironical motif in human affairs—for which Aristotle coined the 
term wepurfrcia—has been discussed in IV. iv. 245-61. 

J On pp. 12, 25-26, and 39-40, above. 



46 HEROIC AGES 

the occasion of a discomfiture which neither they nor their defeated 
adversaries had foreseen. 

The Demoralization of the Barbarian Conquerors 

What is the explanation of this apparent paradox? The answer is that 
the limes, whose resistance the transfrontier barbarian has been seeking 
all the time to overcome, has served, not only as the bulwark of Civiliza¬ 
tion that its builders and defenders had intended it to provide against 
an outer Barbarism, but also as a providential safeguard for the aggressive 
barbarian himself against demonically self-destructive psychological 
forces within his own bosom. 

We have seen 1 that the proximity of a limes induces a malaise among 
the transfrontier barbarians within range of it because their previously 
primitive economy and institutions arc disintegrated by a rain of psychic 
energy, generated by the civilization within the limes, that is wafted 
across a barrier which is an obstacle to the fuller and more fruitful inter¬ 
course characteristic of the relations between a growing civilization and 
the primitive proselytes beyond its open and inviting timen. We have also 
seen 2 that, so long as the barbarian is confined beyond the pale, he 
succeeds in transmuting some, at least, of this disturbing influx of alien 
psychic energy into cultural products—political, artistic, and religious— 
which are partly adaptations of institutions created by the civilization 
from which the intrusive cultural influence comes, and partly new 
creations of the barbarian’s own. This capacity for adaptation and even 
creation, that is thus displayed by the barbarian while he is still beyond 
the pale, is a symptom that the psychological disturbance to which he is 
being exposed is being kept within bounds within which it can produce 
a partially stimulating and not wholly demoralizing effect; and this 
saving curb is provided by the existence of the very limes which the 
barbarian is bent on destroying; for the limes, so long as it holds, supplies 
a substitute, in some measure, for the indispensable discipline of which 
Primitive Man is deprived when the breaking of his cake of primitive 
custom 3 converts him into a transfronticr barbarian. This discipline is 
partly imposed on him externally; for, so long as the perennial.border 
warfare continues, the barbarian belligerent, whether his role be that of 
raider, hostage, or mercenary, is being trained continually perforce in a 
stern yet at the same time instructive military school; but the limes 
disciplines him most effectively in the psychological sense of giving him 
tasks to perform, objectives to reach, and difficulties to contend with 
that call forth his highest powers and constantly keep his efforts up to 
the mark. 

When the sudden collapse of the limes sweeps this safeguard away, the 
nascent creative powers that have been evoked in the transfrontier bar¬ 
barian by the challenge of the limes are daunted and defeated by being 
called upon, suddenly and prematurely, to perform new tasks that arc 
altogether too great and too difficult for them to cope with; and in this 
hour of bewilderment, when there is no more spirit in them, 4 these frail 

1 On pp. 4-9 and 35-39, above. _ * On pp. 9-1 r, above. 

J See the phrase quoted from Bagehot in II. i. 192. * 2 Chron. ix. 4. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 47 
shoots of tender wheat are quickly stifled by the tares in the spiritual 
field of the barbarian’s soul—his abandon 1 and his ferocity—which find 
boundless opportunities for luxuriant growth now that the former raider 
and mercenary has entered into his long-coveted kingdom. If the trans¬ 
frontier barbarian is a more brutal, as well as a more sophisticated, being 
than his ancestor the primitive tribesman, the latter-day barbarian who 
has broken through the limes and carved a successor-state out of the 
derelict domain of a defunct universal state becomes differentiated from 
his already barbarian predecessor beyond the pale in the same two senses 
in a still higher degree. As soon as the barbarian has left no-man’s-land 
behind him and set foot in a ruined world which is for him an earthly 
paradise, his malaise rankles into demoralization. This demonic revolu¬ 
tion in the barbarian’s soul is illustrated by the spiritual catastrophe 
which overtook the Scandinavians when they overran the Carolingian 
Empire. 2 When, in the Viking Age, they tore their life up from its static 
primitive roots and launched it into pure adventure, the price of an 
excessive liberation was a fatal loss of balance. 1 


'When the King’s hall was transplanted into a foreign country and his 
luck plucked out of the fields and grazing grounds surrounding his manor, 
life necessarily became a round of battles and drinking feasts.’ 4 

In this exotic environment the barbarian’s previously manifest vices 
become flagrant, and his previously latent vices become manifest. 

For example, the tendency towards parasitism, 5 revealed in the bar¬ 
barian’s loss of grip upon the economic arts of peace through which his 
primitive forebears earned their livelihood, 6 is kept in check, so long as 
the limes stands, by the parasite’s finding himself compelled to pay by 
fighting—either as a raider or as a mercenary set to catch the thief that 
his brother has continued to be—for the living that he has ceased to 
earn by productive labour. But this last shred of economic respectability 
falls from the barbarian’s shoulders when his eventual acquisition of 
provinces which he has plundered or policed in the past gives him an 
effortless command over the wreckage of a civilization which, for him, 
still amounts to fabulous wealth. Hybrias the unchallenged master of a 
prostrate Minoan serfdom is a more odious parasite than Hybrias’ 
father, who had to snatch his booty or draw his pay from imperial Minos’ 
store at the cost of putting his own life in jeopardy. 

Again, the tendency towards sloth which the transfrontier barbarian 
already displays is, beyond the pale, likewise confined, as Tacitus 

1 The passive way of behaviour, produced by schism in the soul, which we have 
called abandon (alias aKparaa), has been discussed in V. v. 377 and 399-403. 

1 See II. ii. 340-60. 

3 Sec Grdnbcch. V.: Tht Culture of the Teutons (London 1931, Milford, 3 volt, in 
a), vol8. ii-iii, pp. 304 “ 5 * 

« Ibid., p. 305. . 

» A hermit-crab, which is the arch-panuite, is the antithesis of a chrysalis; and this 
contrast gives the measure of the Rulf between the barrenness of the External Prole¬ 
tariat and the creativity of the Internal Proletariat—considering that the role of chrysa¬ 
lis bridging the transition to an affiliated from an apparented civilization, which had 
sometimes been played by churches created by internal proletariats, proves not to 
have been more than an incidental deviation from a higher religion’s true calling (see 
VII. vii. 392-4 19 >. 

6 See pp. 35-381 above. 



48 HEROIC AGES 

observed, 1 to bouts of idleness spent in consuming a windfall acquired 
in the warrior’s latest raid or latest term of mercenary service; and the 
idler takes it for granted all the time that he will have to go on the war¬ 
path again as soon as his momentary gains have been spent—whereas the 
barbarian master of a successor-state feels himself dispensed from living 
from hand to mouth and joyfully lapses into vegetating as a boorish 
sybarite, with no forebodings of a day of judgement on which the strong 
man z who has thus heedlessly laid aside his arms may be despoiled of 
his ill-gotten goods by a stronger than he—as the Vandals were over¬ 
taken by a Roman revanche and the Visigoths by the swoop of fellow 
barbarian Arab raiders who had not yet had time, since their passage of 
the Roman Empire’s Syrian limes, to tread the barbarian conqueror’s 
demoralizing road all the way to its miserable journey’s end. The alter¬ 
native route to the same dismal goal is the even less romantic path that 
was trodden by the Kassites and the Merovingians, who were denied the 
comparatively honourable exit of a violent death in order to be sentenced 
in the bankruptcy court of History when they had run through the 
wasting assets of a civilization which had already gone into disintegration 
before they had arrived on the scene to speed the course of its ruin by 
making a bonfire out of a dead society’s derelict social heritage. 

In whichever of these two alternative ways they meet their end, 3 the 
barbarians in partibus civilium cast themselves, as we have observed by 
anticipation, 4 for the sordid role of vultures feeding on carrion or mag¬ 
gots crawling in a carcass; and it has been noticed by Ibn Khaldun that 
they are apt to display a most unheroic prudence in keeping at a safe 
distance from their dying victim’s body until the life has so far gone out 
of him that there is no danger any longer of his being able to offer any 
resistance. 

‘[The future founders of a successor-state] give way to baseless fears 
whenever they hear talk of the [flourishing] state of the existing empire and 
of the vast resources that it has at its command. This is enough to deter 
them from attacking it, and so their chief is obliged to have patience and 
to bide his time. But, when the empire has fallen into complete decadence, 
as invariably happens, and when its military and financial strength has 
suffered mortal injuries, this chief is rewarded for having waited so long by 
now finding himself able to take advantage of the opportunity of conquer¬ 
ing the empire. . . . When the will of God has made itself manifest, and 
the old empire is on the point of collapse, after haying reached the term 
of its existence, and has become disorganised in all its parts, its feebleness 
and exhaustion attract its adversary’s notice. . . . Encouraged by this 
discovery, the people of the new empire prepare with one accord to open 
the attack; the imaginary dangers that had shaken their resolution up to 
that moment now disappear, the period of waiting comes to an end, and 
the conquest is accomplished by force of arms.’* 

1 In the passage quoted on p. 37, n. 2, above. 

1 Luke xi. 21-22; cp. Matt. xii. 29; Mark iii. 27. 

J These alternative endings of the barbarians' adventures have been touched upon 
in I. i. 58-59 and in IV. iv. 4S4-6, and are surveyed at greater length at the close of the 
present chapter. • In I. i. 62. 

* Ibn Khaldun: MuqaddamSt, translated by de Slane, Baron McG. (Paris 1863-8, 
Imprimeric Iinpdriale, 3 vols.), vol. ii, pp. 134-5. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 49 

As examples of this circumspect method of ‘conquering’ a moribund 
universal state, Ibn Khaldun cites the eviction of the Umayyads by the 
'Abbasids; the supplanting of the 'Abbasids in their turn by the Tabari 
'Alids in Daylam and by the Daylamis in the two ‘Ir 5 qs and in Fare; the 
eviction of the ‘Abbasids’ local successors in Egypt by the Kat 5 ma 
Berbers (‘the Fatimids’), of the Ghaznawids by the Saljuq Turks, and of 
the last of the ‘Abbasids and their supplanters east of the Euphrates by 
the Mongols, who, as he points out, took forty years (a.d. 1220-60) to 
build their empire up; the eviction of the Far Western Umayyads’ 
successors by the Lamtuna Berbers (the MurSbits), of the Lamtuna 
by the Masmuda (the Muwahhids), and of the Masmuda by the ZanSta 
(the Marauds). 1 After presenting his readers with this survey, Ibn 
Khaldun anticipates a pious Muslim’s objection that the Primitive 
Muslim Arabs’ conquest of the Romans and the Sasanidac was a genuine 
—and tremendous—feat of arms, and he concedes that this is a miracu¬ 
lous exception of the kind that proves a rule. A more sceptical student of 
this at first sight astonishing achievement may be inclined to question 
whether Ibn Khaldun need have feared that it might seem to invalidate 
his thesis; for, when all allowance has been made for the tlan of a 
Khalid b. Walid, a satisfactory and sufficient explanation of the rapidity 
and ease of the Arab conquests is to be found in the fact that, immediately 
before the Arabs’ eruption, the Roman and Sasanian empires had bled 
one another white and fought one another to a standstill in the inter¬ 
necine wars of a . d . 572-91 and a . d . 603-28, and that the Monophysite 
Christian subjects of the Roman Empire south of the Taurus were at 
least as deeply alienated from their ‘Mclchitc’ Orthodox Christian rulers 
as the Nestorian Christian subjects of the Sasanian Empire in ‘Iraq were 
from their Zoroastrian rulers. 

If the parasitism and the idleness already displayed by the barbarian 
while still beyond the pale are apt to luxuriate as soon as the collapse of a 
moribund universal state’s last pouxrs of resistance removes the last 
check on this cautiously predatory scavenger’s perpetual temptation to 
take his ease, other vices, previously latent, become flagrantly manifest 
in the barbarian as soon as he brings upon himself, by breaking through 
the limes, the fantastic experience of ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’. 
The origin of this revolting array of moral disorders is to be found in 
a sudden emancipation for which the victim-beneficiary is morally un¬ 
prepared. Liberation from the restraint imposed by the existence of the 
limes, and of the Power behind it, is as demoralizing for the barbarian as, 
in the would-be civilized society that he overruns, is an adolescent’s 
escape from the control of parents and pedagogues before the creature 
has acquired the will or power to attempt to control itself. 

‘The qualities exhibited by these societies, virtues and defects alike, 
arc clearly those of adolescence_The characteristic feature ... is eman¬ 

cipation—social, political, and religious—from the bonds of tribal law. 

. . . The characteristics of heroic ages in general are those neither of 
infancy nor of maturity. . . . The typical man of the Heroic Age is to be 
compared rather with a youth. . . . For a true analogy we must turn to 

« Ibid., pp. 135 - 7 - 



5 o HEROIC AGES 

the case of a youth who has outgrown both the ideas and the control of 
his parents—such a case as may be found among the sons of un¬ 
sophisticated parents who through outside influence, at school or else¬ 
where, have acquired knowledge which places them in a position of 
superiority to their surroundings.’ 1 

The latent weakness of the abruptly emancipated adolescent comes 
out conspicuously on the social and political plane. As we have noticed 
already, 2 

‘in social organisation the distinguishing feature of the Heroic Age is in 
the nature of a revolt or emancipation from those tribal obligations and 
ideas by which the society of primitive peoples is everywhere governed. 
The same remark applies in principle to political organisation: the 
princes of the Heroic Age appear to have freed themselves to a large 
extent from any public control on the part of the tribe or community. 
The changes which we have noted in Religion have a similar tendency. 
Tribal ideas give way to universalism both in the cult of higher powers 
and in the conception of immortality; and in both the Teutonic and Greek 
heroic ages these changes seem to be associated with a weakening in the 
force of Religion.... It will be seen that the emancipation of which we are 
speaking is partly of an intellectual character. This applies both to Reli¬ 
gion and to those ideas which govern social relations. On the other hand 
it is also partly in the nature of a freedom from outside control, both in 
social relations and in government. The force formerly exercised by the 
kindred is now largely transferred to the comitatus, a body of chosen ad¬ 
herents pledged to personal loyalty to their chief. So also, in government, 
the council of the tribe or community has come to be nothing more than 
a comitatus or court. The result of the change is that the man who pos¬ 
sesses a comitatus becomes largely free from the control of his kindred, 
while the chief similarly becomes free from control within his community.’ 3 

The Bankruptcy of a Fallen Civilized Empire's Barbarian Successor- 
states. 

On the barbarian’s native heath beyond the pale, this social and 
political revolution wears the aspect of an act of creation opportunely 
filling a vacuum produced by the disintegration of primitive institutions 
under the corroding influence of the civilization behind the limes; and 
in this relatively simple social environment the new* regime duly serves 
its turn well enough sometimes to move the statesmen of the adjoining 
universal state to utilize it for their own purpose of transforming a 
no-man’s-land into a glacis for a Festung-OikoumenS. The capacity of a 
barbarian war-lord and his comitatus to perform, on occasion, the ser¬ 
vice of providing a buffer-state for a universal state in the last phase of 
its history was demonstrated in the histories of the Ghassanid Arab 
principality, covering the Syrian desert frontier of the Roman Empire, 4 

' Chadwick, H. M.: The Heroic Age (Cambridge 1912, University Press), pp. 442-4. 

J On pp. 10 and 38, above. * Chadwick, op. cit., p. 443. 

* 'L’empercur Icur confcra 1 c titre dc patricc, qui les hissait au sommet de la 
hi^rarchie byxantine. J1 cr*a pour cux la dignity de phylarche ou commandant dcs tribus. 
C’itait rattacher au phylarcat gassanide tous les Bidouins. places sous la mouvance plus 
ou moins dircctc de l’cmpirc, cn Syric ct dans les ddserts limitrophes. Reprdsentants 
officiels de Cdsar auprds dc leurs compatriotes, les dmira assumaient la surveillance du 
limes, de la frontiers syro-palestinienne. 11s devaient favoriscr la pdndtration dc l’in- 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 51 
and its counterpart and adversary the Lakhmid Arab principality, 
covering the 'Ir 3 qi desert frontier of the Sasanian Empire, during the 
last hundred years before both these buffer-states were swept away by 
the Primitive Muslim Arabs’ onslaught 1 on the imperial Powers whom 
the Ghasspids and the Lakhmids had served so well for so long. 1 The 
same tale is told by the history of the Salian Frankish guardians of the 
Roman Empire’s Lower Rhenish frontier during the century following 
their plantation in Toxandria as dediticii by the Emperor Julian in 
a.d. 358 ; 3 and the principality of Afghanistan served the British Indian 
Empire in a similar capacity during the forty years a.d. 1879-1919. 

fluencc romaine, derriire !n ligne de fortins et dc castella, tendue depuis le Nord de la 
Palmyrene jusque vers Aila, pour protfger !es agglomerations de s^dentaires. Cette 
institution du phylarcat gassSnide, mdcanisme souple et peu coflteux, fut une dcs plus 
hcureuscs inspirations dc la penftration pacifique. Elle garantissait A la fois la sfcuritd 
des frontiires, 1c prestige de l’Empire, tout en minageant l'amour-propre ombrageux 
des Bedouins' (Lammens, S.J., Pire H.: La Mecque d la Vrills de I'H/gire (Bayrut 
1924, Imprimerie Catholique), p. 244). 

1 The Muslim Arab conquerors found the two Christian march states themselves 
less difficult to liquidate than the historic feud between them. In the civil war between 
'Ali and Mu'awiyah which followed close on the heels of the conquest (see the present 
chapter, p. 64, below), 'All, from his capital at Kufah, was playing the prince of Hijah's 
traditional part, and Mu'awiyah, from his capital at Damascus, the Ghassanid phy- 
larch’s (sec VI. vii. 131, n. 3). 

* The Roman Empire’s Ghassanid Arab march was organized by the Emperor Jus¬ 
tinian circa a.d. 530-1, and, according to Lammens, op. cit., pp. 244-5 this initiative 
on the Roman Imperial Government’s part led the Sasanian imperial Government to 
confer a corresponding status on its own Arab prot^gfs and political agents, the Lakh¬ 
mids. This change in the Lakhmids’ position seems to have been formal rather than 
substantial, since, dt facto, the Lakhmids had already been serving as the wardens of 
the Sasanids’ desert march, and this going concern was no doubt the model which ’ 
Justinian had before his eyes when he created his own Ghassanid phylarchy. According 
to de Lacy O'Leary, Arabia before Muhammad (London 1927, Kegan Paul), p. 155, 
the Lakhmids had been the Sasanids’ Arab agents since the time of the second Sasanian 
emperor, Shapur I {accentt a.D. 241). During the decadence of the foregoing Parthian 
Arsacid regime which the Persian Sasanidae had now swept away, there had been an 
infiltration of Nomad Arabs, not only into the North Mesopotamian Steppe, but into 
the cultivated lands in 'Iraq, and the newly established Sasanian Power found itself 
confronted with the task of reducing these interlopers to order. When Shapur I in¬ 
herited this formidable task from his father Ardeshir I, the founder of the Sasanian 
Empire, he forbore to carry out to the bitter end the policy of subjugating these recal¬ 
citrant Arabs within his frontier* by force of arms, and resorted to the alternative policy 
of indirect rule through an Arab deputy—a compromise which vindicated the Sasanian 
Imperial Government’s suzerainty without depriving the Arabs of their autonomy. 
The deputy whom Shapur I appointed was the Lakhmid *Amr b. 'Adi, and this appoint¬ 
ment was the origin of the Sasanian Arab march with its administrative centre at Hirah. 
This Sasanian march, like its Roman counterpart, was still in existence at the time of the 
Muslim Arab conquest, though the Lakhmid dynasty had been deposed by the Sasanian 
Emperor Khusru II Parwiz. According to O’Leary’, op. cit., pp. x6o-r, the last of the 
Lakhmid princes of Hirah, a Nu'man, fled to the desert, for fear of the Sasanian 
Government’s hostility, in A.D. 605, and returned and was put to death by Parwiz 
circa a.d. 620 [sic]. After putting Nu'man to death, Parwiz replaced him on the throne of 
Hirah by Iyas of the tribe of Tayy, and then, after Ivas' death, annexed Hirah, in A.D. 
614 [sic], to the territories under the Sasanian Crown a direct administration. According 
to Christensen, A.: Iran sous let Sananidet (Copenhagen 1936, Levin & Munkegaard), 
p. 447, the date at which Nu'man was put to death by Parwiz was some time between 

A l j’ 'f hough SaHan'prankish war-bands under Merovingian leadership began, as early as 
the fifth decade of the fifth century, to encroach upon Roman Imperial domain-land* 
in Northern Gaul beyond the limits of the territory originally assigned to them by the 
Roman authorities, another Salian war-lord, Clogio, was defeated by AJtius at Vicus 
Helena (Helcsmcs) in an attempt to seize Cambrai. The diplomatic Roman victor re¬ 
warded the defeated Salians for their misdemeanours by allowing them to retain the 
conquests that they had made up to that point, and by raising their status from that 
of dediticii (who, at least in theory, were required to do their military service for 
the Empire as regular soldiers enrolled in units of the Imperial Army) to the status of 



52 HEROIC AGES 

These examples show that a barbarian military monarchy may prove 
equal to the task of holding the wardenship of a march, against its fellow 
barbarians beyond the pale, under a universal state’s auspices. But the 
fates of the successor-states established by barbarian conquerors in the 
interior of an extinct universal state’s former domain show still more 
clearly that this equivocal achievement of a jejune barbarian political 
genius is quite unequal to the task of bearing burdens and solving 
problems that are thrown upon it because they have proved too much 
for the statesmanship of an oecumenical Power that has been heir to the 
cumulative political experience of an entire civilization. How, indeed, 
could a challenge that has defeated the efforts of even a broken-down 
civilization be expected to receive a victorious response from barbarian 
interlopers? If the god Helios himself had lost command of his fiery 
steeds, the catastrophic outcome of a mortal Phacthon’s audacious en¬ 
deavour to stay the hazardous course would have been doubly inevitable. 

A barbarian successor-state blindly goes into business on the strength 
of the dishonoured credits of a universal state that has already gone into 
bankruptcy; and these boors in office hasten the advent of their in¬ 
evitable doom by a self-betrayal through the outbreak, under stress of 
a moral ordeal, of something fatally false within; 1 for a polity based 
solely on a gang of armed desperados’ fickle loyalty to an irresponsible 
military leader, 2 while it may be adequate for the organization of a raid 
or, at a pinch, for the administration and defence of a march, is morally 
unfit for the government of a community that has made even an un¬ 
successful attempt at civilization. 3 It is far more unfit than would have 
been the unsophisticated yet respectable primitive rule of custom in¬ 
terpreted by the living elders of the tribe 4 into whose swept and gar- 


foederati (whose privilege il was to serve in national units of their own). Under this new 
arrangement the Salians duly fought on the Roman side against Attila at the Campus 
Mauriacus in A.D. 451: quondam militet Romani, tunc vtro iam in numero auxiliarium 
exquisiti (Jordancs: Getiea, 191). After Aitius's death in a . d . 454 Clogio took Cambrai 
and advanced to the Somme, but the Imperial Government's authority was once again 
established over the foederati in Gaul by the Emperor Majorian ( imperabat a . d . 457-61), 
and thereafter the Salians continued, at least formally, to recognize the authority of 
Aegidius, Majorian's magister miUtum per Galliot, who held on at Soissons after Ma- 
jorian's assassination. It was not till A.D. 486/7, when Merovech’s grandson Clovis 
(Chlodovcch) attacked and overthrew Aegidius’s successor Syagrius, that the Mero¬ 
vingian buffer-state of the Roman Empire openly asserted its independence (see 
Schmidt, L.: ‘Aus den Anfangcn dcs Salfrankischcn KOnigtums’, in Klio, vol. xxxiv, 
pp. 306-27). 

1 Meredith, George, quoted in IV. iv. 120 and VI. vii. 46. 

* 'Irresponsible power, uncontrolled by any settled traditions of ordered freedom, 
will often assert itself or defend itself by savage cruelty. The catalogue of such enormities 
is too long and monotonous to be told in detail’ (Dill, S.: Roman Society in Gaul in 
the Merovingian Age (London 1926, Macmillan), p. 133, introducing an anthology of 
Merovingian atrocities). 

1 The failure of the barbarian successor-states of a fallen civilized empire to carry 
out their self-imposed mandate is the more signal, considering that they arc ant, at their 
inauguration, to be presented with the invaluable unearned asset of a fund of good will 
in the hearts of their newly acquired civilized subjects. These cx-citizens of a fallen 
universal state are so utterly disillusioned with the decadent imperial rdgime from whose 
incompetence and corruption they and their forebears have suffered for many genera¬ 
tions past, that they are inclined to greet even a barbarian alternative regime as a wel¬ 
come alleviation. See Orosius: Historiae Advertum Paganot, Book VII, chap, xli, $ 7, 
and Salvian: De Gubernatione Dei, Book V, §§ 21-22 and 36-37, quoted by E. M. Pick- 
man in The Mind of Latin Christendom (London 1937, Oxford University Press), pp. 
* 73 - 4 - 4 See II. i. 191-2. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 53 
nished house' this gangster-constitution has forced its entry since the 
radiation of a disintegrating civilization has perverted that decadent 
society’s once primitive neighbours into bands of adolescent barbarians. 2 

When these barbarian war-bands have entered into their kingdom in 
the former domain of a fallen universal state, the dissolution of the 
primitive kin-group in the barbarian comitatus is swiftly followed by the 
dissolution of the comitatus itself in the alien subject population. 

‘The Arabs who have settled in . . . regions which afford rich pastures 
for their flocks, and which provide everything required for making life 
agreeable, have allowed the purity of their race to be corrupted by mar¬ 
riages with foreign families. This has been the history of the Lakhm, the 
Judhilm, the Ghassin, the Tayy, the Khuza'ah, the Ayyad and the other 
tribes descended from Himyar and Kahlan. . . . The Caliph Umar said: 
“Learn your genealogies, and do not be like the Nabataeans [settled 
Arabs] of As-Sawad [the alluvial,plain of *Ir 3 q]; when one asks one of 
them where he comes from, he answers: From such and such a village." 
But the Arabs established in fertile countries with fat pastures found 
themselves in contact with other peoples, and this led to an intermingling 
of race and blood. Indeed, from the first days of Islam, people began 
to name the [interloping Arab] tribes after the countries of which they 
were in occupation. People spoke, for example, of the jund [cantonment] 
of Qinnasrin, the jund of Damascus, the jund of the ‘AwSsim. The same 
usage made its way into Andalusia. The Arabs had not, as a matter of fact, 
renounced the custom of calling themselves by the name of the tribe to 
which they belonged; they were merely adopting an additional surname, 
in order to make it easier for their war-lords to distinguish them. There¬ 
after, [however,] they mixed with the inhabitants of the towns—people 
mostly of foreign race—and in this way they lost their purity of blood 
entirely. From that time onwards, family ties became so weak among them 
that they lost their sense of nationality. . . . Next, the tribes themselves 
became extinct, and their liquidation brought with it the disappearance 
of all esprit de corps'* 

The Restraining Influences of Aid 6 s, Nemesis, and Hiltn. 

The barbarian trespassers in partibus civi/ium have, in fact, con¬ 
demned themselves to suffer a moral breakdown as an inevitable con¬ 
sequence of their own adventurous act. 4 Yet they do not yield to their 


« Matt. xii. 44; Luke xi. 25. ...... 

‘ The moral inferiority of the adolescent harbanan to his primitive predecessor has 
been pointed gut by H. G. Wells in The Outline of History (London 1920, Cassell), 
p. 29S, in a passage which is a fine example of his intuitive genius. (In order to transpose 
this passage into the terminology of the present Study, Wells' term ‘barbarism’ has, of 
course, to be construed as ‘primitive life', and his term ‘savage’ as 'primitive .) 

‘It is frequently said that Europe in the sixth and seventh centuries relapsed into 
barbarism, but that does not express the reality of the case very well. Barbarism is a 
social order of an elementary type, orderly within its limits; the state of Europe beneath 
its political fragmentation was a social disorder. Its moral was not that of a kraal, but 
that of a slum. In a savage kraal a savage knows that he belongs to a community , and 
lives and acts accordingly; in a slum the individual neither knows of, nor acts in relation 
to, any greater being.’ „ 

1 Ibn Khaldun: Muqaddtmdt, translated by de Slanc, Baron McG. (Pans 1863-8, 
Imprimeric Imp<riale, 3 vols.), vol. i, pp. 271-3* , , , . . 

* Ibn KhaldOn traces the stages of this demoralization with a masterly hand, and 
with a wealth of illustrations from the histories of Arab and Berber barbanan inter¬ 
lopers, in op. cit., vol. i, especially pp. 292-7 and 342 - 59 * 



54 HEROIC AGES 

self-decreed doom without a spiritual struggle that has left its traces in 
their literary records of myth and ritual and standards of conduct. 

The barbarians’ ubiquitous master-myth describes the hero’s vic¬ 
torious fight with a monster for the acquisition of a treasure which the 
unearthly enemy is withholding from Mankind in order to devour it or 
to hoard it for his own bestial satisfaction. This is the common motif of 
the tales of Beowulf’s fight with Grcndel and Grendel’s mother; Sieg¬ 
fried’s fight with the dragon; Perseus’ feat of slaying and decapitating 
a gorgon the sight of whose head would have turned him to stone if he 
had not skilfully avoided setting eyes on it, and his subsequent feat of 
winning Andromeda for his bride by slaying the sea-monster who was 
threatening to devour her. The motif reappears in Jason’s outmanoeuv¬ 
ring of the serpent-guardian of the Golden Fleece and in Herakles’ 
kidnapping of Cerberus. This myth looks like a projection, on to the 
outer world, of a psychological struggle, in the barbarian’s own soul, 
for the rescue of Man’s supreme spiritual treasure, his rational will, from 
a demonic spiritual force released in the abyss of the unconscious depths 
of the Psyche by the shattering experience of passing, at one step, from 
a familiar no-man’s-land outside the limes into the enchanted world laid 
open by the barrier’s collapse. The myth may indeed be a translation 
into literary narrative of a ritual act of exorcism in which a militarily 
triumphant but spiritually afflicted barbarian has attempted to find a 
practical remedy for his devastating psychological malady . 1 

In the emergence of special standards of conduct applicable to the 
peculiar circumstances of an heroic age we can see a further attempt, 
from another line of approach, to set moral bounds to the ravages of a 
demon that has been let loose in the souls of the barbarian lords and 
masters of a prostrate civilization by the fall of the material barrier of 
the limes. Conspicuous examples are the Achaeans’ Homeric Aid 6 s and 
Nemesis (‘Shame’ and ‘Indignation’) and the Umayyads’ historic Hilrn 
(a studied Self-Restraint). 

‘The great characteristic of [Aid 6 s and Nemesis], as of Honour generally, 
is that they only come into operation when a man is free: when there is 
no compulsion. If you take people . . . who have broken away from all 
their old sanctions and select among them some strong and turbulent 
chief who fears no one, you will first think that such a man is free to do 
whatever enters his head. And then, as a matter of fact, you find that, 
amid his lawlessness, there will crop up some possible action which some¬ 
how makes him feel uncomfortable. If he has done it, he "rues” the deed 
and is haunted by it. If he has not done it, he "shrinks” from doing it. 
And tin’s, not because anyone forces him, nor yet because any particular 
result will accrue to him afterwards, but simply because he feels aidds ... .* 

‘Aid 6 s is what you feel about an act of your own; Nemesis is what you 

1 This fascinating subject has been explored by Gustav Hdbener in a series of studies: 
England und die Gesitttmgsgrundlage der EurofSitchen Fruhgeschichte (Frankfurt am 
Main 1930); ‘Der Heroischc Exorzismus der Nordischcn Rasse und der Winckelried- 
sagenkreia am Vierwaldstattersec’, in Gcmanisch-Romanische Monattschrift, 1931; 
‘Beowulf and German Exorcism’, in Rniete of English Studies, vol. xi, No. 42 , 1935; 
‘Beowulf's "Scax", the Saxons, and an Indian Exorcism’, ibid., vol. xii. No. 48. 1930. 

* It will be seen that, in H. G. Wells’ terms (see the passage quoted on p. 53, n. 2, 
above), Aid6s is essentially a virtue of ‘a slum’ in which ’the individual neither knows 
of, nor acts in relation to, any greater being.’—A.J.T. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 55 

feel for the act of another. Or, most often, it is what you imagine that 
others will feel about you. . . . But suppose no one sees. The act, as you 
know well, remains venecijrov—a thing to feel nemesis about: only there 
is no one there to feel it. Yet, if you yourself dislike what you have done, 
and feel aid 6 s for it, you inevitably are conscious that somebody or some¬ 
thing dislikes or disapproves of you-The Earth, Water, and Air [are] 

full of living eyes: of them, of daimones, of ktres. .. . And it is they who 
have seen you and are wroth with you for the thing which you have done.' 1 

In a post-Minoan heroic age, as depicted in the Homeric Epic, the 
actions that evoke feelings of AMs and Nemesis are those implying 
cowardice, lying, and perjury, lack of reverence, and cruelty or treachery 
towards the helpless. 2 

'Apart from any question of wrong acts done to them, there are certain 
classes of people more alBoioi, objects of aidOs, than others. There are 
people in whose presence a man feels shame, self-consciousness, awe, a 
sense keener than usual of the importance of behaving well. And what sort 
of people chiefly excite this aMs? Of course there arc kings, elders and 
sages, princes and ambassadors: alSotoi fiaoiAfjts, ylpovres, and the like: 
all of them people for whom you naturally feel reverence, and whose 
good or bad opinion is important in the World. Yet.. . you will find that 
it is not these people, but quite others, who arc most deeply charged, as it 
were, with AMs— before whom you feel still more keenly conscious of 
your unworthiness, and whose good or ill opinion weighs somehow in¬ 
explicably more in the last account: the disinherited of the Earth, the 
injured, the helpless, and, among them the most utterly helpless of all, 
the dead.’ 1 

In contrast to AMs and Nemesis, which enter into all aspects of 
social life, Hibn is a vertu des politiques * Before the inauguration of 
Islam the practice of Hibn had been learnt by Abu Sufy 3 n, the father 
of a Mu'awiyah who was to found the Umayyad Power, in the school 
of the mercantile republic of Mecca: 5 a cultural as well as physical oasis 
in the desert of Arab barbarism where the rudiments of city-state life 
had been propagated by a radiation of Syriac and Hellenic influences 
which, at earlier dates, had produced more brilliant fruits of the kind 
at Palmyra and at Petra. 6 Abu SufySn’s son the Caliph Mu'awiyah I 
claimed that Hilm was an Umayyad family virtue, 7 and Mu'awiyah 
himself came to figure as the classical exponent of it. 8 One of Mu'awiyah’s 
dicta was that ‘ Hibn would be universal if everyone had Abu Sufyan 
for his ancestor ’P But ‘the qualities which, when found in combination, 
the Arabs designated by the name of Hilm' were ‘as rarely met with as 


» Murray, Gilbert: The Rise of the Greek Epic, 3rd ed. (Oxford 1924. Clarendon 

a Ibidl^ pp. 85-87. * Ibid., pp. 87-88. 

* Lammens. S.J., Pire H.: litudet sur le Regne du Calife Omoxyade Mo'&eia !•' 

S .yrflt 1908, Imprimerie Catholique; Paris 1908, Gcuthner), p. 81, n. 2. The quotations 
m this book have been made with the permission of the publishers, 
s See Lammens, op. cit., p. 89. 6 See I. i. 74, n. 4. and II. 11. 9-12. 

1 See Lammens, op. tit., p. 88, n. 3. . . 

» See Lammens, op. cit, pp. 66-67. A monograph entitled 7 /tf Ihlm of Mu dtciyah 
is one of the lost works of the Classical Arabic Literature (Lammens, op. cit., p. 89), 
but Lammens has collected anecdotes on the subject, from surviving works, in op. cit. 



S 6 HEROIC AGES 

they were highly prized among a passionate people whose temperament 
was a bundle of nerves—nerves almost showing through the skin and 
reacting to the slightest external shock’. 1 

'Hilm is neither patience nor moderation nor clemency nor long-suffer¬ 
ing nor self-possession nor maturity of character. It merely borrows from 
each of these qualities certain external traits, to an extent just sufficient 
to take in an observer who is not on the alert. The product of these super¬ 
ficial loans is a virtue that is specifically Arab.’* 

Hilm is thus something more sophisticated than AidSs and Nemesis, 
and consequently also something less attractive. Hilm is emphatically 
not an expression of humility; ‘its aim is rather to humiliate an adver¬ 
sary : to confound him by presenting the contrast of one’s own superior¬ 
ity; to surprise him by displaying the dignity and calm of one’s own 
attitude’. 1 The practice of Hilm is not incompatible with inward feelings 
of resentment, animus, and vindictiveness. 4 Hilm is not within the 
competence of anyone who is not rich and powerful, and it presupposes 
not only the possession of power but the possibility of abusing it in 
order to injure one’s neighbour without having to fear the consequences 
of one’s action. 5 

‘In the desert, every true “gentleman” must have in his moral coach¬ 
house (remise) —or, as wc are tempted to say, in his moral stable (tcurie )— 
two steeds to choose between at his pleasure. On the one, he makes a 
parade of clemency. The other—and this is the one which he prefers to 
mount—allows him to show himself in his true colours. . . . 6 

‘At bottom, Hilm, like most Arab qualities, is a virtue for bravado and 
display, with more ostentation in it than real substance: one form of 
Nomad stoicism—a stoicism tinged with pharisaism. Among a theatrical 
people that is the devitalised heir of a race which has been initiated into 
civilisation at a very early date, but which has since relapsed into the state 
of nature, a reputation for Hilm can be acquired at the cheap price of an 
elegant gesture or a sonorous mot: it does not pre-suppose a serious 
spiritual struggle against angry passions, against pride, or against the 
desire for vengeance. It can be combined with brutality in daily life . . . 7 

‘In reality Hilm (as Ahnaf has remarked with profound insight) was not 
so much a virtue as an attitude—a prudent opportunism serving as a safe¬ 
guard against abuses of authority, which are always regrettable, under a 
regime which in principle was democratic; opportune above all in an 
anarchic milieu, such as the Arab Society was, where every act of violence 
remorselessly provoked a retaliation. It was no feeling of humanity, but 
a fear of the thar (emeute), that inspired the Badawi with a horror of blood¬ 
shed. And thus the virtue of Hilm was revealed to him by the disagree¬ 
ableness of the consequences of a passionate word or gesture. From this 
point of view , Hilm was something that could not be ignored by the chiefs, 
who were obliged by their situation to maintain an equilibrium between 
the elements of disorder that were rife within the bosom of the tribe. 
Given the parliamentary institutions [of the Arab heroic age], Hilm 
became, for the depositary of [political] power, a virtue of the first 
order.. . . s 

1 Lammens, op. cit., p. 69. * Ibid., p. 67. 

3 Ibid., p. 68. ♦ See ibid., p. 69. 

5 See ibid., pp. 72 and 79. * Ibid., p. 76. 

7 Ibid., p. 81. • * Ibid., p. 87. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 57 

'Hilm, as practised by [Mu'SwIyah’s Umayyad successors], facilitated 
their task of giving the Arabs a political education; it sweetened for their 
pupils the bitterness of having to sacrifice the anarchic liberty of the Desert 
in favour of sovereigns who were condescending enough to draw a velvet 
glove over the iron hand with which they ruled their empire.’ 1 

These acute characterizations of the nature of Hilm, Aid 6 s, and Nemesis 
from the masterly hands of sensitive students of the surviving records 
show how nicely adapted these standards of conduct are to the peculiar 
political, social, and psychological circumstances of the Heroic Age; and, 
if, as we have intimated already, the Heroic Age is intrinsically ‘a tran¬ 
sient phase’, 1 the surest sign of its advent and its recession are the 
epiphany and the eclipse of ideals that are its specific attendant moral 
luminaries. Stars whose faint but precious glimmer through the evening 
twilight has been the only consolation for the setting of the Sun cease 
to be visible in the darkness before dawn, 

‘and then, at long last, shall those spirits go their way to Olympus from 
the wide-wayed Earth, with their beautiful faces veiled in white raiment, 
seeking the company of the immortals and leaving behind them the com¬ 
pany of men—even the spirits of Shame and Indignation.’ 3 

As Aid 6 s and Nemesis thus fade from view', their disappearance draws 
a cry of despair from the weary watcher of the skies. ‘Pain and grief are 
the portion that shall be left for mortal men, and there shall be no 
defence against the evil day.’ 4 Hesiod is harrowed by his illusory con¬ 
viction—which it never occurs to him to doubt—that the withdrawal 
of the glimmering light that has sustained the children of the Dark Age 
through their vigil is a portent of the onset of an unmitigated and per¬ 
petual night; and he has no inkling that, on the contrary, this extinguish¬ 
ing of beacons is a harbinger of the return of day. The truth is that 
Aid 6 s and Nemesis rcascend into Heaven as soon as the imperceptible 
emergence of a nascent new civilization has made their sojourn on Earth 
superfluous by bringing into currency other virtues that are socially 
more constructive though aesthetically they may be less attractive. The 
Iron Age into which Hesiod lamented that he had been born, because 
it was the age that had seen Aidds and Nemesis shake the dust of this 
Earth from off their feet, was in fact the age in which a living Hellenic 
Civilization was arising out of a dead Minoan Civilization’s ruins; and 
the 'Abbasids, who had no use for the Hilm that had been their Umayyad 
predecessors’ arcanum imperii, were the statesmen who set the seal on 
the Umayyads’ tour dc force of profiting by the obliteration of the Syrian 
limes of the Roman Empire through the demonic outbreak of the 
Primitive Muslim Arabs in order to reinauguratc a Syriac universal 
state that had been prematurely overthrown, a thousand years before, 
by Alexander the Great.* 

“With the 'Abbasids, Hilm will lose its value in the sphere of govern¬ 
ment, to become a virtue of private life. After the destruction of the former 


1 Chadwick, &. .VI.: The Heroic Age (Cambridge 1912, University Press), p. 44a. 
i Hesiod: Works and Days, 11 . 197-200. 

♦ Ibid., II. 200-1. 1 See 1 .1. 77. 



58 HEROIC AGES 

Arab supremacy and Arab society ..absolutism, now firmly established 
from one end of the Islamic World to the other, no longer felt the neces¬ 
sity of resorting to Hilm in order to overcome the recalcitrance of a public 
opinion which, thenceforward, was condemned to silence. ... In under¬ 
mining, at its foundations, the organisation of the former Arab Society, 
and in forcing all necks to bow beneath the dead level of despotism, the 
'Abbasid regime was to obtain more decisive results than the lectures 
( mercuriales ) delivered [by Umayyad governors] from the tribunes at 
Kufah and Basrah.’ 1 


It was significant that, in order to ensure the salvaging of the Syriac 
Civilization from the chaos of a post-Hellenic Arab heroic age, there had 
to be a change of political regime, and that the barbaric turbulence of 
the Arab war-bands could be reduced to order only at the price of also 
suppressing their aristocratic freedom; for the Primitive Muslim Arabs 
had been perhaps the most gifted of all barbarian warriors, and the 
Umayyads of all barbarian statesmen, that had so far flitted across the 
stage of History. Umayyad statesmanship had achieved the unparalleled 
feat of transforming an Arab barbarian successor-state of the Roman 
Empire in Syria into an avatar of the universal state that had originally 
been provided for the Syriac Civilization, eleven hundred years before, 
by the Empire of the Achaemenidac. This was an achievement of which 
the Umayyads’ Ghassanid forerunners had never dreamed, and to which 
the Ghassanids’ Palmyrene predecessors had aspired with disastrous 
consequences for themselves. Yet the raw material of Arab barbarism 

E roved so intractable even to the Umayyad genius 2 that an Umayyad 
•avid’s work had to be completed by an 'Abbasid Solomon. The exact¬ 
ing, though misguided, task of evoking, in a nascent Far Eastern and 
noscent Western Christian Society, a ghost of the antecedent civiliza¬ 
tion’s universal state was likewise beyond the interloping barbarians’ 
powers. It is not surprising that, before this task could be taken in hand 

1 Lammens, S.J., Pi re H.: Eludes sur le Rtgne du Calife Omaiyade Mo'data 1 " 
(Pari* 1908, Gcuthner). pp. 106 and 86-87. For the anti-ariatocratic egalitarianism of the 
despotic 'Abbasid r*gime, see the present Study, VI. vii. 149-52. 

1 'Quand on itudie Ics origines ct l'organisation de 1’Empire Arabe, on ne tarde 
pas 4 ddcouvrir l'inconsistance de la base appuyant cette dnormc machine; la contra¬ 
diction perpdtuelle entre la grandeur de l'entreprise et 1'impropridtd des moyens des¬ 
tines 4 la faire aboutir: veritable tare originelle, dont les effets n’ont pas cessd de *e faire 
sentir ... II faut tenir comptc de la matiire ingrate *ur laquellc opdra le grand calife 
[Mu'iwiyah], de la resistance opposde & son action par l’irriductiblc individualisme dea 
Arabes. II parvint non seulement A les discipliner; mais il les transforma en conquerants, 
capablcs dc dominer des pcuples supdrieura 4 eux par l’intelligcncc et par la civilisation. 
.... Pour comprendre 4 quoi aurait abouti entre leurs mains la direction de l'Islun sans 
l’intervention des Omaiyades [the Umayyads], il audit de considdrer la situation de l'lraq 
et des provinces orientale* au moment oti elles echurent cn partage a Mu'Awiyah. Dans 
les mdtropolcs, KOfah et Basrah, le meurtre, le vol et l’incendie ctaient des faits quoti- 
diens. 'Umar et 'Uthman avaient dO rcnoncer 4 y dtablir un semblant d’ordre. La voix 
de ‘Ali n’arriva pas 4 dominer 1 c tumulte. Impuissant 4 sc faire respecter, il dchoua dans 
la tentative d'imposer son prestige de gendre du Prophdtc, son anciennctd dans l’Islam. 
qu’il ne cessait de mettre cn avant; train* 4 la remorque des bandes arabes dont il dtait 
le chef nominal, frdquemmcnt abandonnd, parfois menacd de mort. Sans l'intervention 
des Omaiyades et de leurs dnergiques reprdsentants—les Ziyad, les 'Ubaydallih, les 
Hajjij, Ics Khalid al-Qasri—tout (’Empire Musulman sc fGt transform*, comme l’lraq, 
en un champ-clos oG les Arabes seraient venus vider leurs mesquines qucrclles de tribus 
(Lammens, S.J., Lc Pire H.: Eludes sur le Rignt du Calife Omaiyade Mo'dicia 1 " 
(Paris 1908, Geuthner), pp. 273, 274, and 278). [The transliteration of the Arabic 
pro^er^ names has been brought into line with the usage followed in this Study.— 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 59 
in Western Christendom, the faineant Merovingian epigoni of Clovis 
had to make way for the Carolingians. It is more remarkable that, in the 
Far East, the epigoni of the Eurasian Nomad barbarian interlopers, who 
had been so receptive in their attitude towards the legacy of the Sinic 
culture,' should have had likewise to make way for the sedentary bar¬ 
barian To Pa, and these still more receptive barbarians, 2 in their turn, 
for successor-states which were harbingers of the imperial Sui and 
T’ang. 


The Outbreak of an Invincible Criminality 

The demon who takes possession of the barbarian's soul as soon as 
the barbarian’s foot has crossed the fallen limes is indeed difficult to exor¬ 
cise, because he contrives to pervert the very virtues with which his 
victim has armed himself in order to keep the demon at bay. 

'Just as the athlete of asceticism strives to outdo himself because he has 
lost the sane measure of social intercourse, so the viking is tempted to 
overshoot his own mark: his honour becomes more exacting and often 
roars like a rapacious beast that never knows when it has had its fill.’* 


When the barbarian’s own peculiar virtue of AidSs thus treacherously 
ministers to the frenzy which it is its mission to curb, the barbarian has 
lost his desperate battle with himself, and his moral discomfiture is 
advertised in an orgy of violence which eventually cures itself by the 
drastic remedy of devouring its authors. 

To employ the terminology of the post-Hellenic Arab heroic age, 
Hilm is worsted—and is bound to be worsted—sooner or later by its anti¬ 
thesis and adversary Jahl. While the literal meaning of this Arabic word 
is ‘ignorance’, it has a connotation of ‘passionateness (emportement), 
violence, and a brutality which, among the Arabs, was sometimes con¬ 
fused with virility’. 4 The nick-name Abu Jahl means, not ‘the ignorant’, 
but ‘the impetuous’ or ‘the emotional ( le passionnd)'} 

‘In its usage as conveying the antithesis of Hilm, Jahl incarnates all the 
faults deriving from rusticity and from lack of savoir-viyre, all the passion¬ 
ateness ( 1 ‘emportement) of youth, all the excesses committed by brute force 
when it escapes from the control of the Reason. The jdhil is the enemy of 
the peace-lovers or peace-makers, 6 he is destitute of the strict idea of jus¬ 
tice, 7 he is the victim of pleasure, and allows himself to be captivated by 
the seductive charms of women. 8 He is also the unrcflective character, 
the impotent sui of the Latins—incapable of mastering the angry passions. 
Jahl is . . . the roughness of the manners of the Desert, the absence of 
restraint in language, an obliviousness of decorum. It is Jahl that betrays 
its addict into violations of the code of honour laid down in the customs 
of the Desert, and into failures to live up to the convenances of social intcr- 


« See Franke, O.: Grsehichte des Chinesitchen Reichts, vol. ii (Berlin and Leipzig 
1036, de Gruytcr), pp. 40-41. . 

i For an example of the Sinophilism of the To Po, see V. v. 477 - 3 . A master y treat¬ 
ment of the subject will be found in Eberhard, W.: Dot Toba-Reich Nord-Chinas 
(Leiden 1049. Brill). ..... . , . . 

> Grfinbcch, V.: The Culture of the Teutons (London 1931, Milford, 3 vol*. in 2), 
vola. ii-iii, p. 305. * Ummena, op. cit., p. 84. 

» Ibid., p. 8 5. 4 xxv. 64. ... 

* Our an. zii. it: 3 


7 Qur'an, xxxiii. 72. 


Qur'an, xu. 33; xxviu. 55. 



60 HEROIC AGES 

course, the laws of hospitality, the duties of friendship, and, in short, "the 
new spirit”, inaugurated by Islam, to which ... the Badu never suc¬ 
ceeded in conforming.' 1 

Indeed, the Badawl frankly looked back to the Jdhiliyah as ‘the good 
old times when people were able to live without constraint, "without 
suspecting the existence of Muhammad” \ 2 In the social and psycho¬ 
logical landscape of the Arab heroic age the jahil and the halim were 
complementary' characterizations which, between them, provided a 
temperamental classification for the whole of Mankind; 3 but the issue 
of the struggle between the two temperaments was a foregone con¬ 
clusion, since the weights in the respective scales were utterly unequal. 
Not only did the juhala outnumber the hulama, and this by an over¬ 
whelming majority; the most deadly weakness of the exponents of Hilm 
was not their numerical inferiority but their lack of genuine belief in, 
and sincere devotion to, their own principle. Hilm, as we have seen, 4 
‘was not so much a virtue as an attitude’. For Mu'awiyah himself, who 
was the halim par excellence, 

'Hilm was something that appealed to the ambition of this man of 
genius, not as an end, but as a means: not so much as a moral quality 
perfecting [the character of] the individual as for its utility as an instru¬ 
ment of government.’ 5 

When the halim himself is jahil at heart, it is evident that an attitude 
thus struck, without conviction, by a sceptically sophisticated minority 
has no prospect of prevailing. 

The works of a Jahl that Hilm has failed to chasten and that Aid 6 s 
and Nemesis have been impotent to abash have left scars which arc the 
barbarian’s authentic marks in the record of history. His characteristic 
brutality declares itself at his first break-through. The classic example 
is the obliteration of urban life in Transoxania and Khur 3 s 3 n by the 
Mongols when they burst out of the heart of the Eurasian Steppe; but 
the same wanton delight in destruction, and the same desperate fear of 
further visitations that a first experience of these horrors has inspired 
in their victims, are attested hardly less emphatically by the archaeo¬ 
logical evidence from the Hellenic World of the third century of the 
Christian Era. In the walls built on the morrow of the disaster round the 
citadel of Ankara, 6 across the agora at Athens and round the cities of 
Gaul, to provide shelter within a shrunken enceinte for a decimated 
population, the stones cry out 7 as they are wrenched from their original 
emplacements—tomb-stone and altar and column-drum—and are piled 
together in an alinement that cuts across the previous lay-out of the city 
as ruthlessly as if the hands that have thrown up these hasty defences 
had been those of the barbarian destroyer himself. 8 Still more shocking 

1 Lammcns, op. cit., pp. 85-86. 

2 Ibid., p. 83, quoting Ahtal, 311. 4. 

J Ibid., p. 82, quoting Al-Mubarrad: Kamil. 425. 9. 

* In the passage quoted, on p. 56, above, from Lammcns, op. cit., p. 87. 

5 Ibid. p. 01. 

6 See V. vi. 206, with n. 4. » Hab. ii. it; Luke xix. 40. 

* A few days before writing these lines in London on the 17th December, >948, the 
writer had revisited the citadel of Ankara and had seen for the first time the so-called 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 61 
than the tempestuous storming of Dexippus’s Athens by the Goths is 
the deliberate burning of Xerxes’ apadana at Persepolis by the Mace¬ 
donians; for, while it is true that Alexander did not put the inhabitants 
to the sword, but, on the contrary, doled out the largesse which it had 
been customary for an Achaemenian emperor to distribute when he 
visited his dynasty’s homeland, 1 the destruction of a noble work of archi¬ 
tecture is an inexcusable act of vandalism in a barbarian whose con¬ 
version to Hellenism estops, for him, the Gothic plea of invincible 
ignorance. 

Such wholesale atrocities are the overtures to individual crimes of 
violence that arc the outstanding features of the Heroic Age both in 
history and in legend. The demoralized barbarian society in which 
these dark deeds are perpetrated is so familiar with their performance 
and so obtuse to their horror 2 that the bards whose task it is to im¬ 
mortalize the memory of the war-lords do not hesitate to saddle their 
heroes and heroines with sins of which they have been innocent in real 
life, when a blackening of their characters can heighten the artistic 
merit of the story. 3 This readiness to magnify a character’s artistic 
interest at the cost of his moral reputation might incline the latter-day 
critic to discount the evidence of legend unsupported by independent 
historical testimony, were it not that almost every enormity celebrated 
in epic and saga is accredited by historically recorded parallels for which 
the evidence is impeccable. 

For example, the legendary murder of Priam King of Troy by Achilles’ 
son Pyrrhus is accredited by the historical murder of Atahualpa, the last 
Imperial Inca, by his Spanish barbarian conqueror Pizarro, and of 
Husayn, the last emperor of the Safawl House, by his Afghan barbarian 


'Valerian’ city-wall at Athena cutting across an agora that had been excavated, since 
his last visit to Athens in a.d. 1921, by American archaeological enterprise. A striking 
visual impression of the extremeness 01 the disparity in size between the areas enclosed 
within the Valerian Wall and within the antecedent Hudrianic Wall, respectively, is 
given in the map facing p. 276 of E. P. Blegen’s 'News Items from Athens’ in the 
American Journal of Archaeology, vol. I, No. 3, July-September, 1946. 

* See VI. vii. 209. 

2 The extent of the barbarians’ capacity for the moral digestion of their war-lords’ 
crimes can be measured by the length of the rope that was given by the Franks to the 
Merovingians. 

'The arbitrary and even savage assertion of their power... never for generations seems 
to have weakened the hold of the Merovingian nice on the mass of their subjects, 
whether Frank or Roman. The Merovingian family had some secret spell which guarded 
them and gave them a longer permanence than was conceded to other conquering Ger¬ 
man tribes. The Visigoths had the evil custom of murdering their kings. If Frank kings 
were murdered, it was by the will of some rival of their house. The appeal of Guntram, 
in the church at Orleans in a.d. 585, that his house should be guarded from violence and 
extinction, as the sole defenders of the people, was powerful and probably effective. 
It was a startling appeal for loyalty from a family stained with all the crimes of Pelopid 
legend. It seemed like setting wolves to guard the fold. And yet this would not represent 
the facts and sentiment of the time.... The conquests of Childeric and Clovis had made 
a wandering band of warriors masters of Gaul and Western Germany, and abed new 
lustre on the line of Francion and Merovechus. These exploits, chanted round the 
watch-fires, invested the ruling house with an imaginative halo, which is the surest 
power of kingship’ (Dill, S.: Roman Society in Gaul in the Merovingian Age (London 
1926. Macmillan), pp. 121-2). 

J For instances of such uncomplimentary poetic fiction, see Chadwick, H. M.: The 
Heroic Age (Cambridge 1912, University Press), pp. 156-7. For the tendency of 'heroic 
tradition to part company with historical fact in the interests of art for art’s sake, see 
the present Study, V. v. 607-14. 



62 HEROIC AGES 

jailor Ashraf. The criminality of the Afghans during their seven years’ 
occupation of the Safawl imperial capital, Ispahan, was peculiarly cold¬ 
blooded. 1 * When Husayn Shah Safawl was murdered by the barbarians 
in a.d. 1729, he had not only been their captive since his capitulation 
to their first war-lord Mir Mahmud on the 21st October, 1722; he had 
lived to see the previous extermination of his household and his family. 

‘In a.d. 1723 [Mahmud] put to death in cold blood some three hundred 
of the nobles and chief citizens, and followed up this bloody deed with 
the murder of about two hundred children of their families. He also killed 
some three thousand of the deposed Shah’s bodyguard, together with 
many other persons whose sentiments he mistrusted or whose influence 
he feared.’ 1 

On the 7th February', 1725, Mahmud went on to murder all surviving 
members of the imperial family except Husayn himself and two of his 
younger children—a crime which was overtaken by poetic justice when, 
on the 22nd April following, Mahmud in his turn was assassinated by 
his own cousin Ashraf for the prize of an usurped Iranian imperial 
crown. 3 

The murder of a defenceless defeated prince is the highest rung on 
a descending ladder of barbarian criminality. At the next level below 
this in the inferno of the Heroic Age we behold the barbarian war-band 
murdering, not an enemy prince, but their own leader—in violation of 
the personal duty of the retainer to his chief which is the most sacred 
obligation in the barbarian moral code. This offence is so outrageous in 
the eyes even of a barbarian bard and his audience that it might be 
difficult to find a legendary counterpart of the historic murder of the 
Caliph 'Uthman by a soldiery who had been thrown off their balance by 
the intoxication of victory. 4 * At the next level below this we see a drunken 
Alexander murdering a drunken Cleitus who can boast of having saved 
his slayer-leader’s life at the battle of the Granicus—and this in the 
presence of Hellenes whose already decadent civilization still shines so 
bright by contrast with a Macedonian barbarism that it makes these 
horrified witnesses look like dcmi-gods. s From the murder of a foster¬ 
kinsman 6 comrade-in-arms it is a short step downwards in the pro¬ 
gressive demoralization of the Heroic Age to the murder of a kinsman 
by blood. 

‘Instances of the slaying of kinsmen seem to have been by no means 
uncommon in the Heroic Age. In Beowulf the spokesman of the Danish 
kings, Unferth, is said to have killed his brothers, and, though the fact 

1 See Browne, E.G.: A Literary History of Persia, vol. iv (Cambridge 1928, Univer¬ 

sity Press), pp. 130-3. 

* Ibid., p. 130. _ 1 See ibid., p. 131. 

4 . The closest parallel is perhaps to be found in the mutiny of an Indian Sepoy Army 
against the British employers under whose military leadership they had achieved the 
conquest of a sub-continent within the Time-span of half a century. 

1 During the first phase of the drunken altercation between Alexander and Cleitus 
that was to have this dreadful denouement, Alexander himself turned to two non- 
Macedonian Greek guests of his and asked them: ‘How do Hellenes in Macedonian 
company look to you? Don’t you feel like demigods among beasts?’ (Plutarch’s Life of 
Alexander, chap. 51). 

6 Cleitus was the brother of Alexander’s foster-mother LSnicd. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 63 

was a reproach to him, it apparently did not prevent him from holding 
an important office at court. In the same poem we hear of dissensions 
within the Swedish royal family, which ended in death for both Onela 
and Eanmund. According to the legends preserved in Ynglingatal, this 
family had had a very bad record for such quarrels in the past. Among the 
Goths we have the case of Eormenric [Hermanaric], who put his nephews 
Embrica and Fritla to death. And it is by no means only in poetry or 
tradition that we meet with such cases; historians also furnish numerous 
examples. Thus, according to Gregory of Tours, 1 the Burgundian King 
Hilperic was killed by his brother Gundobad, while Sigismund, son of 
the latter, had his own son, Sigiric, put to death.* The Thuringian King 
Irminfrith slew his brother Bcrhthari; 5 the Frankish King Sigiberht was 
murdered by the orders of his son Hlothric. 4 Clovis is said to have put to 
death a number of his relatives, while his sons and grandsons were 
repeatedly involved in deadly strife. 5 In view of such evidence wc must 
conclude that the primitive sanctity of the family was giving way in the 
Heroic Age. 6 

The Merovingian evidence is, indeed, lavish. 

‘The faithlessness attributed to the Franks in ancient writers reached 
its height in the relations of the Frank kings even with their nearest kin. 
Clovis by treachery and ruthlessness had swept from his path rivals pro¬ 
bably equally treacherous at Cologne and Cambrai. His sons and grand¬ 
sons, in insidious attacks on one another and shameless perfidy, almost 
improved on his example. ... To this strange race, crime and perfidy 
were the most natural things in the world, and their mean avidity seems 
to have been equal to their treachery. Brothers as they were, proud of 
their blood and race, they appear to have regarded sworn alliances as only 
made for convenience and to be broken at pleasure. They were like wild 
animals, watching one another in mutual fear, and always ready to spring. 
Among a race so faithless, perfidy was often the only means of safety. 
The crimes of the second generation make perhaps even a darker tale 
than those of the first.’ 7 


In the sinister light of Teutonic barbarian legend and history, the 
Achaean barbarian tale of the curse on the House of Atrcus falls into 
social and psychological perspective. Both its agonizing crescendo move¬ 
ment and its merciful finale become comprehensible. The progressive 
heightening of the horror, from the ghastly banquet of Thyestes, 
through the murder of a husband by his unfaithful wife, to the slaying 
of a mother by her distracted son, follows the rhythm of the Heroic Age 
as the iniquity of the fathers is visited upon the children unto the third 
and fourth generation 8 —not because they have been condemned to 
suffer by the fiat of a god whose wrath they have provoked by hating 
him, but because they have been robbed of the moral raiment of primitive 
custom by the radiation of a decadent civilization and then have run 


G 

Sec 


regorius Turonensi* 


Historia Franiorum, Book II, chap. 2S 
id., Book III, chap. 5. 


» See ibid., Book III, chap. 4. 


See ibid., Book II, chap. 40. 


» 'In some cases the deed^was certainly done by the relative’s own hand. Such wag 


the case with Lothair and the song of Chlodomer (Gregory of Tourt, op. cic.. Book III, 
chap. 18).’ 

6 Chadwick, H. M.: The Heroic Age (Cambridge 1912, University Press), pp. 3 . 4 ?“ 7 * 

7 Dili, S.: Roman 

pp. 281-3. 


1 : The Heroic Are (Cambridge 1912, University Press), pp. 346-7. 
1 Society in Caul 1 n (he Merovingian Age (London 1926, Macmillan), 

* Exod. xx. 5. 


64 HEROIC AGES 

wild to wander naked in the moral wilderness left by this neighbour 
society’s collapse. The lifting of the curse after its operation has come 
to an intolerable climax is one of the first-fruits of the banning of the 
post-Minoan Heroic Age by the beneficent Attic genius of a nascent 
Hellenic Civilization 1 at the dawn following a darkness which an epi- 
methean Hesiod had mistaken for eternal night. 2 

When the members of a barbarian war-lord’s kin-group turn their 
murderous hands against one another, it is not surprising to sec a dead 
leader’s royal brood exterminated by the hands of impious alien usurpers 
in the next chapter of the story—as the family of Alexander was liqui¬ 
dated by Cassander, and the grandson of Muhammad by the Umayyads. 1 
A slaughtered Husayn received the posthumous recompense of being 
idealized as a martyr whose etherialized blood mingled with his father’s 4 
to become the seed of a Shi'I Church; but Olympias, Roxana, and the 
child Alexander IV did not even find a pagan bard to make poetry of 
their painful deaths. 

Such mass-murders are mere incidents in civil strife within the bosom 
of barbarian communities that arc highly enough organized to be 
capable of it. Long and deadly civil wars were the immediate sequel to 
swift and facile conquests of derelict worlds in the heroic ages of the 
Western Christian Spanish conquerors of the Aztecs and the Incas, the 
Hellenized Macedonian conquerors of the Achaemenidae, the sub¬ 
sequent Hellenic conquerors of the Mauryan Empire in India, 5 and the 
Primitive Muslim Arab conquerors of the Romans and the Sasanidae— 
Arabs who, to damn them with faint praise, had been perhaps the least 
barbarous of all barbarians up to date. These episodes need not be re¬ 
capitulated here, since they have been surveyed already, in a different 
context, 6 as examples of the militarist's ‘burden of Nineveh’. In this 
place we need only point to the manifest conclusion that 'every kingdom 
divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house 
divided against itself shall not stand’. 7 

The Dtbdclc of an Ephemeral Barbarian Ascendancy 

A sensationally sudden fall from an apparent omnipotence to an un¬ 
mistakable impotence is, indeed, the characteristic fate of an Heroic-Age 

* The sovereign virtue of Hellenism was the moderation that is exemplified in the 

judgement given by the Athenian jurors and their presiding Goddess Athena at the 
denouement of Aeschylus's Atreidan trilogy; and it is significant that the psychological 
talisman through which Hellenism succeeded in overcoming the demonic spirit of a 
post-Minoan heroic age was likewise the key to the exorcism of a post-Hellenic heroic 
age by the nascent civilization of a Western Christendom. In this chapter of history, 
‘moderation ... is the outstanding virtue of the chivalrous type that succeeded the heroic 
type of the earlier ages’ (Menendcz Pidal, Ramdn: The Cid and his Spain, English 
translation (London 1054. John Murray), p. 421). ' See p. 57, above. 

* In justice to the Umayyads it should not be foigotten that Husayn brought his 
death upon himself by his own folly. The Umayyad Government would have given a 
fortune to see him die in his bed as their pensioner, like his elder brother Hasan after 
his abdication from the succession to their father ’Ali (the allegation that Hasan met 
his death, not by disease, but by poison, has been dismissed as non-proven by Lammcns, 
S.J., Le Pire H.: Eludes sur le Rtgne du Calife Omaiyade Mo'dvAa l" (Paris, 1908, 
Geuthncr), pp. I 49 - 53 )- 

* All’s assassin was a fellow Arab, but, so far from being an agent of Mu’awiyah’s, 

he was a Kharijite. s See I. i. 86. 

6 In IV. iv. 484-6. i Matt. xii. 25. Cp. Mark iii. 24-25; Luke xi. 17. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 65 
barbarian Power. Striking historical examples of this play of the ironic 
law of Trepirrereia are the eclipse of the Western Huns after the death 
of Attila, the eclipse of the Vandals after the death of Genscric, the 
eclipse of the Ostrogoths after the death of Theodoric, and the eclipse 
of the Serbs after the death of Stephen Dushan. These well-attested 
instances lend credibility to the tradition that the wave of Achaean con¬ 
quest likewise broke and collapsed immediately after engulfing Troy, and 
that a murdered Agamemnon was the last Pan-Achaean war-lord* The 
same fate sometimes overtakes the legacies even of those more construc¬ 
tive empire-builders who sweep away decadent barbarian principalities 
in order to clear the ground for the appearance of the first green shoots 
of a new civilization. The eclipse of the Timurids after the death of Timur 
Lenk and the eclipse of the Carolingians after the death of Charlemagne 
were as abrupt and complete as those of any sheerly barbarian Power. 

The Huns under Attila had terrorized Europe from its Baltic to its 
Mediterranean coast; the Vandals under Genseric had similarly terror¬ 
ized the Mediterranean from its African to its European shores; the 
Ostrogoths under Theodoric had been masters of Italy; the Serbs under 
Stephen Dushan had dominated the Balkan Peninsula; the Achaeans 
under Agamemnon are reputed to have held a ‘thalassocracy’ in the 
Aegean which they had wrested from the Minoans or from the Minoan 
World’s Mycenaean marchmcn. The sudden paralysis of the energies 
that had been manifesting themselves in these exhibitions of power is 
to be explained by the utter incapacity of the barbarians for creating 
stable and enduring political institutions. Their political potency hangs 
on the thread of the single life of some war-lord of genius; and, as soon 
as this thread snaps, they relapse into anarchy. Sometimes the war-lord 
himself reveals the limitations of his own political sense by ineptly pro¬ 
viding in his testament for the partition of his dominions among his 
heirs, and it was this that was the bane of the Merovingians and the 
Carolingians in succession. The testator’s apologia would be that, if he 
did not make provision for an orderly division in his will, his kindred 
would assuredly take the law into their own violent hands by fighting 
one another for the prize of his inheritance; and such forebodings are 
borne out by a host of historical instances. Sometimes, again, a bar¬ 
barian principality may fall to pieces owing to the death or unduly pro¬ 
longed absence of the war-lord on some too ambitiously distant or 
difficult military adventure. This is the situation depicted in the opening 
books of the Odyssey. In the twentieth year of the interregnum arising 
from the absence of Odysseus, every budding squire in the realm is 
already playing the king;' and the comparable break-up of the Scandi¬ 
navian barbarian principality of Kiev in the twelfth century of the 
Christian Era 2 authenticates the verisimilitude of the Homeric picture 
presented in the Telemacheia without encouraging us to believe in the 
happy ending which the poet’s plot requires him to give to his story. 


< A catalogue of 10S suitors for the hand of Penelope from the several isles of Odys¬ 
seus’ kingdom is given by Telemachus in Odyssey . Book XVI, 11 . 245- SS- 

* See Kliutschewskij, W. [Kluchevski, V.]: Geschichte Rutslands, vol. a (Berlin I 92 S> 
Obelisk-Verlag), pp. 191-2. 





66 HEROIC AGES 

In real life the divided house docs fall; and an identical denouement 
is produced by three variations on one theme. The barbarian successor- 
state of a moribund universal state may be laid low by a counter-blow 
from its expiring victim; or it may meet the same violent death at the 
hands of fellow barbarians; or it may languish in impotence, after com¬ 
ing to the end of its prodigal feast on carrion flesh, till it is swept off the 
stage of History to make way either for the re-entry of an old civilization 
or for the entry of a new' one. A scrutiny of our table of barbarian war- 
bands 1 yields the following catalogue of instances of these alternative 
evil ends. 

A revanche on the part of a civilization so far gone in the downward 
course of its decline as to have been unable to prevent the barbarians 
from breaking in, yet not so far gone as to be incapable of hitting back, 
is rare at the final relapse, when a universal state is breaking up, but less 
uncommon in the earlier chapter of the story in which the establishment 
of a universal state is evoked by a Time of Troubles rising to its climax. 

The most signal examples of the crushing of a barbarian invader by 
a moribund civilization are to be found in Egyptiac history. The Egyptiac 
Society actually rose, like Osiris, from the dead, to confound the ap¬ 
parently triumphant barbarian successors of ‘the Middle Empire’, when 
the Hyksos were expelled from the Delta, and their survivors were pur¬ 
sued and subjugated, in their Syrian asylum, by a fresh breed of Theban 
empire-builders who brought the Egyptiac universal state to life again 
in the form of ‘the New Empire ’. 1 Moreover, this revanche upon the 
Hyksos, in which ‘the New Empire’ came to birth, is matched by the 
feat on which, some four hundred years later, this resuscitated Egyptiac 
universal state expended its last expiring energies. The decisive victory 
of ‘the New Empire’ of Egypt over the Achacans and the other ‘peoples 
of the sea’ in the first decade of the twelfth century B.c. brought the 
barbarians to a dead halt at the threshold of the invaded Egyptiac 
World’s heartland in the Lower Nile Valley; and the lesson was so severe 
that, though the survivors of the foiled barbarian war-bands were able 
to encamp on ‘the New Empire’s’ South Syrian glacis, we have no 
evidence of their ever having ventured to attack the Delta again. 

Ramses Ill’s triumph over ‘the peoples of the sea’ has a counterpart 
in Hellenic history in Justinian’s successive triumphs over the Vandals 
and the Ostrogoths; and in this case the audacious barbarian invaders 
paid the price of annihilation for a sensational temporary success. The 
Roman Imperial Government in the West had failed to prevent the 
Vandals from crossing the Straits of Gibraltar and seizing transmarine 

1 Reproduced in the present volume, on pp. 734-5, from vol. vi, pp. 330-1, above. 

1 The expulsion of the Hyksos from the Delta in the sixteenth century b.c. had a 
second-century echo in the reaction at that date against the Ptolemaic Macedonian 
domination. These two Egyptiac revolts against barbarian rule were animated by an 
identical spirit of ‘Zealotism’, though their fortunes differed in the respective degrees of 
their outward success. On the later occasion the Egyptiac ‘Zealots’ had to acquiesce in 
leaving the Ptolemies on their shaken throne and to content themselves with extorting 
from them far-reaching concessions to Egyptiac sentiment. If, in the next chapter of 
the story, the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt had not been incorporated into an Hellenic 
universal state in the shape of the Roman Empire, the Coptic triumph over Hellenism 
in the Kulturkampf of the fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian Era might have come 
five or six hundred years sooner than it did. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 67 

Roman dominions in North-West Africa which ought to have been the 
Empire’s impregnable citadel against barbarian invaders from the north 
of Continental Europe; 1 and subsequently the Imperial Government at 
Constantinople had been constrained to divert the Ostrogoths from 
harrying the European suburbs of the new imperial capital by actually 
inviting them to invade Italy and occupy Rome. In the blood feud 
between the Romans and these two Teutonic barbarian war-bands the 
vindictiveness of the injured empire’s eventual counter-blow was pro¬ 
portionate to the painfulness of its previous humiliations. This chastise¬ 
ment of the Vandals and the Ostrogoths by Justinian has Ottoman 
parallels in Mchmed 'All Pasha’s chastisement of the Wahhabis and 
Sultan Mahmud II’s chastisement of the Kurds—with the difference 
that these Ottoman ‘Hcrodians’ 2 overthrew their barbarian adversaries 
with the aid of a Western military’ technique imparted by French and 
Prussian instructors, whereas Justinian mobilized the martial virtue of 
his home-grown Isaurian barbarians and the military- equipment of the 
Sarmatian Nomads 1 for his victorious counter-offensive against the cpi- 
goni of Genseric and Theodoric. 

There is a longer list of barbarian invaders of a civilization in its Time 
of Troubles who have been evicted or annihilated by the founders of the 
affiliated civilization’s universal state, or by those founders’ fore¬ 
runners. This retribution was exacted from the Gutaean invaders of 
Sumer and Akkad by Utu-khegal of Erech, the forerunner of Ur- 
Engur’s {alias Ur-Nammu’s) Sumeric ‘Empire of the Four Quarters’, 
and from the Scythian invaders of South-Western Asia by the Median 
forerunners of the Achaemenian Empire. We may place in the same 
general category the eviction of the Afghan invaders of Iran by Nadir 
Shah, and the eviction of the Mongol invaders of China by the Ming 
in revenge for the intolerable service which these Eurasian Nomad bar¬ 
barians had performed for the main body of the Far Eastern Civilization 
in imposing on it a universal state which it had failed to provide for 
itself. The Serb barbarians who aspired to perform the same sen-ice 
for the main body of Orthodox Christendom were overthrown, without 
ever having set foot within the imperial city of Constantinople, by 
'Osmanli competitors whose Spartan discipline assured their victory 
over the unruly cpigoni of Stephen Dushan. 

The premature timing of an offensive, which was the undoing of the 
Serbs, the Scyths, and the Gutaeans, had twice been similarly fatal to 
Celtic barbarian trespassers. The Continental Celts who, on the morrow 
of the breakdown of the Hellenic Civilization, overwhelmed the peril¬ 
ously exposed Etruscan advance-guard of Hellenism in the Po Basin, 
and who subsequently thrust their way across Gaul into the Iberian 
Peninsula and across the Balkan Peninsula into the heart of Anatolia, 
were successively brought to book by the Roman builders of an Hellenic 
universal state. 4 The Insular Celts who attempted to create a Far 

1 Sec X. ix. 658, n. 3, and 659-62. 

1 For the use of this term in this study, see pp. 580-623, below. 

J See the passage quoted from Procopius in III. iii. 163. 

♦ See II. ii. 279-82. 



68 HEROIC AGES 

Western Christian alternative to a nascent Romanesque Western Chris¬ 
tian Civilization found themselves constrained, like their Scandinavian 
counterparts, to acquiesce in being assimilated to the more puissant 
rival culture . 1 The grimmer fate that might have been theirs if they had 
shown themselves recalcitrant is indicated by the chastisement that the 
unconscionable Continental Saxon barbarians did incur at the hands of 
a Carolingian Power which had not brushed aside the effete barbarism 
of its Merovingian predecessors in order to open the way for an un¬ 
seasonable Saxon repetition of the Teutonic Volkerwandcrung that had 
weltered, four hundred years earlier, over the western provinces of the 
Roman Empire. 

The fratricidal warfare, through which the barbarians save Civilization 
the trouble of having to put them down by ridding the World of one 
another, is perhaps the only beneficent form of ‘genocide ’. 1 By this 
salutary method of progressive elimination the number of the competing 
Macedonian barbarian successor-states of the Achaemenian Empire was 
eventually reduced to three through the overthrow of Antigonus at 
Ipsus J and of Lysimachus at Corupedium; and, by the same process, 
the trio of Turkish and Tungus barbarian successor-states of the Sinic 
universal state was reduced to unity within 120 years of the fall of the 
regime of the United Tsin , 4 and the ‘heptarchy’ of English barbarian 
successor-states of the Roman Empire in Britain was eventually con¬ 
verted into a ‘dyarchy’ in which the whole island, except for Wales, was 
partitioned between a Wessex that had entered into the heritage of 
Mercia and a Lothian that had taken its Scottish conquerors captive . 5 
In the Continental European arena of a post-Hellenic barbarian Volker- 
wanderung the Burgundian squatters on the left bank of the Rhine 
were almost exterminated by the Western Huns—before the Hun 
Power, in its turn, was broken by a revolt of its satellite Teuton war- 
bands after Attila’s death—and a Burgundian remnant which had found 
asylum in Savoy was subsequently subjugated there by the Merovingian 
Franks . 6 The Visigoths evicted the Vandals and Alans from the Iberian 

' The histories of the abortive Far Western Christian and abortive Scandinavian 
civilizations have been sketched in II. ii. 322-60. 

J Instances have been cited, by anticipation, in I. i. 38 and in IV. iv. 

J In spite of this disaster, in which the first Antigonus met his death, his grandson 
and namesake did, of course, succeed in securing for his house the throne of one of the 
three surviving Macedonian polities; but the Macedonian homeland, which thus 
became Antigonus Gonatas’ domain, was a modc8t prize compared with Antigonus 
Monophthalmus's abortive Asiatic empire. 

* Upon the collapse, at the turn of the third and fourth centuries of the Christian 
Era. of the Sinic imperial regime of 'the United Tsin’, which had momentarily re¬ 
established the Sinic universal state in a.d. 280, after a century of disunion, three bar¬ 
barian wnr-bnnds carved successor-states out of the northern fringes of the former 
imperial dominions: the Southern Hiongnu and the To Pa in Shansi, and the Sienpi 
in Liaotung. The Hiongnu principality of 'Pei Han’ came into collision with the To Pa 
in a.d. 312 (within a year of the sack of the eastern imperial capital, Loyang, by these 
Hiongnu in A.D. 311). In A.D. 318 ‘Pei Han' broke up (two years after the sack of the 
western imperial capital, Ch’ang-Ngan, by these Hiongnu in A.D. 316). In A.D. 338 the 
Hiongnu principality was reconstituted, under the name of ‘Chao’, only to be con¬ 
quered in a.d. 352 by ‘Yen', the Sienpi principality in Liaotung. 'Yen’, in its turn, was • 
conquered in a.d. 436 by 'Wei*—the classical name that had been assumed by the vic¬ 
torious principality of the Tungus To Pa (see Cordier, H.: Hutoire Gtnirale de la Chine 
(Paris 1920-1. Gcuihncr. 4 vols.), vol. i. pp. 306-23). s See II. ii. 190-3. 

6 In a.d. 413 the main body of the Burgundians had settled, by agreement with the 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 69 
Peninsula before they were themselves evicted by the Franks from Gaul, 
and they subsequently subjugated the Sueves in Galicia before being 
driven, by their own Arab conquerors, into the adjoining mountain fast¬ 
ness of Asturias. The Arabs, on their way to conquering all but a frag¬ 
ment of the Iberian Peninsula from their Visigothic fellow barbarians, 
subjugated in North-West Africa the Berber barbarians who had plagued 
both the Romans and the Vandals with impunity. 

The ‘face’ which the Roman Empire had lost when Odovacer broke 
the rules of the political game in a disintegrating universal state 1 by 
deposing Romulus Augustulus, the puppet emperor in the West, and 
undisguisedly taking the reins of government into his own hands, was 
recovered, without any military exertion on the Constantinopolitan 
Imperial Government’s part, when the tactless Scirian barbarian war¬ 
lord Odovacer was treacherously murdered by the faithless Ostrogothic 
barbarian war-lord Thcodoric. Odovacer had opened the gates of an 
impregnable Ravenna to his hereditary enemy in consideration of a 
solemn undertaking, on Theodoric’s part, to share the possession of 
Italy with Odovacer on equal terms. Thcodoric’s murderous breach of 
faith is characteristic of the methods by which the barbarian ‘heroes’ 
snatch an ephemeral dominion from one another; and retribution over¬ 
took this crime when Theodoric’s ill-gotten dominion over Italy was 
wrested from his cpigoni by the Constantinopolitan Imperial Govern¬ 
ment that had instigated Thcodoric himself to move on to Italy from 
Illyricum. In reconquering Italy from the Ostrogoths at the cost of 
disastrously depleting the man-power of Illyricum and the wealth of the 
Oriental provinces of the Empire, Justinian was unwittingly working, 
not for himself nor for his heirs, but for the Lombard war-lord Alboin, 
who was the ultimate beneficiary of the Great Romano-Gothic War of 
a.d. 537-53. Before posthumously avenging the extermination of the 
Ostrogoths by making an easy entry into a devastated Italy, Alboin, in 
concert with the Avars, had exterminated the Ostrogoths’ kinsmen the 
Gepidac, who had been the principal beneficiaries of the previous 
extermination of the Avars’ fellow Nomads the Western Huns. 

This auspicious proclivity of the barbarians for liquidating one 
another is likewise illustrated in the histories of the break-up of the 
Arab Caliphate and the break-up of the Khazar Empire in the Great 
Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe. When the collapse of the Far 
Western Umayyad Caliphate created a political vacuum in Andalusia 
which sucked in Berber Muslim barbarians from Africa and Frankish 
Christian barbarians from Europe, the Murabit Lamtuna Berber inter- 

Roman authorities, on the left bank of the middle Rhine, round Worms. In a.d. 437 
these Burgundians were attacked and crushed by the Huns at the instigation of the 
Roman war-lord AJtius. In thus serving as the Romans’ executioners the Huns were 
taking a vicarious revenge for a severe reverse that they had suffered in A.D. 430 at the 
hands of a trans-Rhenane rearguard of the Burgundians in the mountainous country 
between Rhine, Main, and Neckar. This obscure concatenation of inter-barbarun con¬ 
flicts is elucidated by E. A. Thompson: A History of Attila and the Hunt (Oxford 1948. 
Clarendon Press), pp. 65-67. The Burgundians who settled in Savoy in a.d. 443 were 
survivors of the disaster of A.D. 437. This Burgundy on the Rh6ne was conquered by 
the Merovingians in a.d. 532. 

t The role of a universal state, in the last chapter of its history, as a source of legiti¬ 
mization for its de facto successors has been examined in VI. vii. 12-16. 



7 o HEROIC AGES 

lopcrs were overthrown, as we have seen, 1 by the Muwahhid Masmuda, 
and the Masmuda by the Marinid Zanata. On the frontier of a dis¬ 
integrating 'Abbasid Caliphate over against the Eurasian Steppe, a 
Turkish wave of Nomad barbarian invaders was similarly pursued and 
submerged by a following Mongol wave, while the survivors of a foun¬ 
dered Khazar Empire lived to witness, from their asylum in the moun¬ 
tain fastnesses of the Crimea, the transformation of the Khazars’ own 
former imperial domain in the Eurasian Steppe’s Great Western Bay 
into a maelstrom where successive waves of Magyar, Pcchcncg, Ghuzz, 
Cuman, and Mongol Nomad barbarian invaders, breaking westward out 
of the depths of die vast steppe-ocean, were shattered by their impact 
on one another. At the Far Eastern extremity of the Old World the 
Khitan Nomad invaders of a disintegrating China were evicted by the 
Kin highlanders from Manchuria, as the Lamtuna Nomads were 
supplanted in the Maghrib and Andalusia by the Masmuda highlanders 
from the Atlas; and the Kin, in their turn, suffered at the Mongols’ 
hands the retribution that was meted out to the Masmuda by the 
Zanata. 

The ignominious fate of lingering on to be snuffed out eventually, 
unregretted, by scavenger-harbingers of a resurgent civilization was re¬ 
served for the Kassite squatters in Babylonia; the Merovingian and 
Lombard interlopers in Roman Gaul and Italy; the Umayyad successors 
of the Romans tram Taurum and of the Sasanidae; the Libyan squatters 
in the homeland of ‘the New Empire’ of Egypt; the Chaghatiy Mongol 
Eurasian Nomad overlords of Transoxania; the Mongol U-Khans of 
HOlagu’s line who had liquidated the Turkish successor-states of the 
'Abbasid Caliphate, and the remnant of the 'Abbasid Power itself, in 
Iran and 'Iraq; and the ‘Parthian’ Eurasian Nomad Parni who, in their 
day, had wrested the same territories from the weakening grasp of the 
epigoni of Seleucus Nicator. The Kassites were cleared away by native 
representatives of a nascent Babylonic Civilization, the Merovingians 
and the Lombard successors of Alboin by the Carolingians, the Umay- 
yads by the 'Abbasids, the Libyans by the Deltaic Egyptian Pharaohs 
of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty with the aid of Carian and Ionian ‘brazen 
men from the sea’; the Chaghatay Mongols by Timur Lenk, the II- 
Khans by a litter of ephemeral successor-states, the ‘Parthian’ Arsacidac 
by the Sasanidae from Fars. The Arsacids, Umayyads, Lombards, and 
Chaghatay Mongols partially retrieved the humiliation of their exit by 
fighting a losing battle against their suppressors; and the survivors of 
the 'Abbasids’ Umayyad victims who succeeded in re-establishing an 
Umayyad Caliphate in miniature in Andalusia, beyond their KhurasanI 
adversaries’ reach, were emulating the spirit of that uncharacteristically 
stiff-necked minority among the descendants of the Libyan squatters in 
Egypt who preferred to trek up the Nile into the Sudanese Gazfrah 
rather than submit to the rule of the apostles of an archaising Egyptiac 
reaction. 2 A majority of the Libyan trespassers in Egypt preferred, like 
the Kassites and the Merovingians, to die ‘the cow’s death’ that, in the 

1 On p. 49, above. 

1 This incident has been touched upon in VI. vii. 1x8-19. 



THE CATACLYSM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 71 
barbarian’s own eyes, is the worst disgrace that he can bring upon 
himself. 

The only barbarians who had escaped all these alternative evil ends 
were those whose incursion into the domain of a disintegrating civiliza¬ 
tion beyond a fallen limes had been accompanied by their conversion to 
some still vigorous civilization in their rear. The Macedonians, for 
example, were Greek-speaking barbarians' who had been exposed to 
the radiation of the Hellenic Civilization, created by the Greek city- 
states round the shores of the Aegean, for many generations before the 
date of Alexander’s crossing of the Hellespont. The deliberate Helleniza- 
tion of Macedonia by Alexander’s father Philip was the prelude to the 
Macedonians’ conquest of the Achaemcnian Empire as apostles of 
Hellenism; and, though, as we have seen, the Achaemenian Empire’s 
Macedonian successor-states all, in different ways, displayed the 
political instability that is characteristic of principalities set up by 
barbarian war-bands, these peritura regna did, nevertheless, succeed in 
performing one piece of creative work in sowing seeds of Hellenism on 
Oriental ground that were subsequently harvested by the Roman 
Empire. This Macedonian story had been repeated in the cultural his¬ 
tory of the Asturian and Pyrenaean barbarians who had emulated the 
Macedonians’ feat of overrunning the domains of several disintegrating 
civilizations. 2 The Visigoth refugees in Asturias and their Basque neigh¬ 
bours in the Western Pyrenees started life imbued with a tincture of a 
then already nascent Western Christian Civilization; and this tincture 
was successively reinforced in the ninth century of the Christian Era, 
when the southern foothills of the Central and Eastern Pyrenees were 
conquered from the Umayyads by the Carolingians, and in the eleventh 
century, when Lconesc and Castilian war-bands began to encroach in 
earnest on the indigenous successor-states of an Andalusian Umayyad 
Caliphate. 

‘When in a.d. 1002 Northern Spain eventually emancipated herself 
from Islam, she applied herself to the task of restoring her weakened links 
with the rest of Europe. The liturgy, clergy, monasteries, handwriting- 
all her institutions and customs—were reformed in the time of the Cid 
and brought into line with the standards prevailing in Western Europe. 
This great change was helped forward by the influx of knights, clerics, 
burghers and settlers from beyond the Pyrenees, who filled the places of 
those inhabitants of Castile and Leon who had moved southwards.’ 3 

In a similar way the Scandinavian barbarian intruders on the forest 
fringes of the Khazar Empire in the Dnicpr Basin were salvaged by their 
conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the Cossack barbarians 
who followed the Russian rivers out of the Forest into the Steppe and 
ventured to beard the epigoni of the Golden Horde on the Eurasian 


* See III. iii. 477-89. . . 

i The Macedonians overran the domains of the Hittite, Syriac, Egypnac, Babylonic, 
and Indie civilizations; the Spaniards overran the domains of the Syriac Civilization in 
the Iberian Peninsula and of the Central American and Andean civilizations in the 
New World. . . 

> Menendez Pidal, Ramdn: The Cid and His Spain, English translation (London 1934, 
Murray), p. 452. See also the present Study, V. v. 242, n. 4. 



72 HEROIC AGES 

Nomads’ own element were incorporated into the universal state which 
was provided for the Russian offshoot of Orthodox Christendom by 
Muscovy; and the Serb and the Rumeliot and Maniot Greek barbarian 
carvers of successor-states out of the carcass of the Ottoman Empire 
were converted in the act, more Macedonico, to the secular civilization 
of a Modem Western World. 1 

These instances of salvation through conversion, rare though they 
arc, show that even the barbarian interloper on the domain of a mori¬ 
bund civilization is not inexorably doomed. 

1 See II. ii. 181-6. 



E. DICHTUNG UND WAHRHEIT 


(I) A PHANTASY OF HEROISM 


J F there is truth in the picture presented in the preceding chapter, the 
verdict on the Heroic Age can only be a severe one. The mildest 
judgement will convict it of having been a futile escapade, while sterner 
judges will denounce it as a criminal outrage. 

The verdict of futility was once pronounced, in tragic circumstances, 
by a conquered barbarian war-lord whose previous station and sub¬ 
sequent personal experiences entitled him to speak on this point with 
unchallengeable authority. In a . d . 534 Gelimir, the ex-king of an 
ephemeral Vandal barbarian successor-state of the Roman Empire in 
North-West Africa, could not forget, while he was dragging his feet 
through the streets of Constantinople in a Roman triumphal procession 
to celebrate his own overthrow, that he was the fifth successor of a 
Genscric who had conquered Carthage less than a hundred years back 1 
and had sacked Rome herself in a . d . 455. 


'The prisoners led in triumph were Gelimir himself, with a purple 
robe of some sort draped round his shoulders, and the whole of his family, 
together with the very tallest and physically handsomest of the Vandal 
rank-and-file. When Gelimir had arrived at the Hippodrome and beheld 
the Emperor enthroned on a lofty tribune, with the people standing on 
either side of him, and when, as he took in the scene, he realised the ex¬ 
tremity of his own plight, he did not relieve his feelings by weeping or 
groaning aloud, but repeated over and over again a phrase from the 
Hebrew scriptures: “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” 1 When he reached 
the Emperor’s tribune they stripped him of his purple and forced him 
to fall on his face and grovel in adoration of Justinian’s imperial majesty 
(TTpoOKWtiv ‘Iovonvtavov fiaatAea ).' 3 

If the unhappy Gelimir had been further humiliated on that day by 
being made to carry a placard epitomizing his experience, the Roman 
official epigrammatist commissioned to compose the headline could not 
have done better than to anticipate three lines written by a latter-day 
Western poet: 

Sown in the Moon shall with the Moon decay, 

Loved in the Moon shall die at touch of day; 

And spring be cold, and roses ashen grey.* 

And the same stark verdict of futility likewise makes itself heard 
through the mellow poetry of a Victorian man of letters who had lived 
on to feel the frost of a neo-barbarian age. 

Follow the path of those fair warriors, the tall Goths 
from the day when they led their blue-eyed families 


« The Vandals had conquered Carthage in A.D. 439 . only ten years after their passage, 
in A.D. 429, from Spain to Africa. 1 Ecd. i. 2. . 

> Procopius: A History of the Wars of Justinian, Book IV, chap. 0, cited in IV. iv. 389. 
* Gilbert Murray, on the title-page of Moonseed, by Rosalind Murray (London 19x1, 
Sidgwick and Jackson). 



74 


HEROIC AGES 

off Vistula’s cold pasture-lands, their murky home 
by the amber-strewen foreshore of the Baltic sea, 
and, in the incontaminat vigor of manliness 
feeling their rumour’d way to an unknown promised land, 
tore at the ravel’d fringes of the purple power, 
and trampling its wide skirts, defeating its armies, 
slaying its Emperor, and burning his cities, 
sack’d Athens and Rome; untill supplanting Caesar 
they ruled the world where Romans reigned before:— 

Yet from those three long centuries of rapin and blood, 
inhumanity of heart and wanton cruelty of hand, 
ther is little left. . . . Those Goths wer strong but to destroy; 
they neither wrote nor wrought, thought not nor created; 
but, since the field was rank with tares and mildew’d wheat, 
their scything won some praise: Else have they left no trace. 1 

This measured judgement, which is the ripe fruit of a still undisturbed 
detachment from the realities of the Heroic Age, could not have been 
delivered by an Hellenic poet who was bitterly conscious of still living 
in a moral slum made by barbarian successors of ‘the thalassocracy of 
Minos’. Criminality, and not mere futility, is the burden of Hesiod’s 
indictment against a post-Minoan heroic age that, in his day, was still 
haunting a nascent Hellenic Civilization; and, if he had been required 
to give his black picture a ‘caption’, we may guess that he would have 
quoted from the Odyssey 2 the goddess Athena’s comment on Zeus’s talc 
of Aegisthus. 

Kal Xlrjv kciv6 $ ioiKOTt Ktirai SX 49 pip‘ 
u>s dnoXoiro scat aAAor ort? roiaura ye p«'£oi. 3 

Hesiod’s own judgement on the barbarians is indeed a merciless one: 

‘And Father Zeus made yet a third race of mortal men—a Race of 
Bronze, in no wise like unto the Silver, fashioned from ash-stems, 4 
mighty and terrible. Their delight was in the grievous deeds of Ares and 
in the trespasses of Pride (ufjpies). No bread ever passed their lips, but 
their hearts in their breasts were strong as adamant, and none might 
approach them. Great was their strength and unconquerable were the 
arms which grew from their shoulders upon their stalwart frames. Of 
bronze were their panoplies, of bronze their houses, and with bronze 
they tilled the land (dark iron was not yet). These were brought low by 
their own hands and went their way to the mouldering house of chilly 
Hades, nameless. For all their mighty valour, Death took them in his 
dark grip, and they left the bright light of the Sun.’* 

In Posterity’s judgement on the overflowing measure of suffering 
which the barbarians bring upon themselves by their own criminal 


* Bridges, Robert: The Testament of Beauty (Oxford 1929, Clarendon Press), Book I, 
U- S 35 - 55 - 1 Book I, II. 46-47- 

» 'AH too [fearfully] befitting i* the doom that has laid that monster low; thus perish 
any other wretch who dares such deeds ns those.’ The second of these two lines was 
quoted by Scipio Aemilianus when, in his camp beleaguering Numantia, he received 
intelligence of the violent end which Tiberius Gracchus had met at Rome (Plutarch: 
Life of Tiberius Gracchus, chap. 2t). 

4 Ash was the wood from which spear-shafts were made.—A.T.T. 
i Hesiod: Works and Days, II. 143-55. 



A PHANTASY OF HEROISM 75 

follies, 1 this passage in Hesiod’s poem might have stood as the last word, 
had not the poet himself run on as follows: 

'Now when this race also had been covered by Earth, yet a fourth race 
was made, again, upon the face of the All-Mother, by Zeus son of Cronos 
—a better race and more righteous, the divine race of men heroic (dvBp&v 
r/pioiov Oetou y(vos), who are called demigods ('qp.ideoi), a race that was 
aforetime upon the boundless Earth. These were destroyed by evil War 
and dread Battle—some below Seven-Gate Thebes in the land of Cad¬ 
mus, as they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, while others were carried 
for destruction to Troy in ships over the great gulf of the sea, for the sake 
of Helen of the lovely hair. There verily they met their end and vanished 
in the embrace of Death; yet a few there were that were granted a life and 
a dwelling-place, apart from Mankind, by Zeus son of Cronos, who made 
them to abide at the ends of the Earth. So there they abide, with hearts 
free from care, in the Isles of the Blessed beside the deep eddies of Ocean 
Stream—happy heroes, for whom a harvest honey-sweet, thrice ripening 
every year, is yielded by fruitful fields.’* 

What is the relation of this passage to the one that immediately pre¬ 
cedes it, and indeed to the whole catalogue of races in which it is 
imbedded ? This episode breaks the sequence of the catalogue in two 
respects. In the first place the race here passed in review, unlike the pre¬ 
ceding races of gold, silver, and bronze and the succeeding race of iron, 
is not identified with any metal, and, in the second place, all the other 
four races are made to follow one another in a declining order of merit 
which is symbolized in the descending gradation of the metals from gold 
to iron through silver and bronze. Moreover, the destinies of the three 
preceding races after death are consonant with the tenour of their lives 
on Earth. The Race of Gold 'became good spirits (S alpoves ... iadXol) 
by the will of great Zeus—spirits above the ground, guardians of mortal 
men, givers of wealth (for they had gotten even that prerogative of 
kings).’ 3 The inferior Race of Silver still 'gained among mortals the 
name of blessed ones beneath the ground—second in glory; and yet, 
even so, they too are attended with honour’. 4 When we come, however, 
to the Race of Bronze, wc find, as we have seen, that their fate after 
death is passed over in a grimly ominous silence. In a catalogue woven 
on this pattern, we should expect to find the next race condemned, after 
death, to suffer, at the lightest, the torments of the damned in the House 
of Hades; yet, so far from that, wc find at least a chosen few of them 
transported after death, not to Hell, but to Elysium—where they live, 
above ground, the very life that had been lived by the Race of Gold 
before tasting of a death which these supremely favoured heroes are, it 
would seem, to be spared. 

Manifestly the insertion of a Race of Heroes between the Race of 
Bronze and the Race of Iron is an afterthought. Both in form and in 
substance the passages describing the races of these two baser metals 

1 edva iv araaOaXhjmv vtt ip popov aXy< fv ovaiv, — Odyssey, Book 1,1. 34. _ 

> Hesiod: Works and Days, II. 156-73. following Rzach, A.: Httiodi Carmina, edit 10 
altera (Leipzig 1908, Teubner), in excising II. 169-9* as a later variant for II. 172-3- 

J Hesiod: Works and Days, 11. 122-6, following Rzach in excising II. 124-5. 

* Ibid., II. 141-2. 



76 HEROIC AGES 

ought to stand in immediate juxtaposition to one another. If we do 
bring them together by allowing the episode of the heroes to drop out, 
the poem then runs smooth, with no perceptible hiatus at the point where 
we have excised the incongruous parenthesis. The parenthetic heroes 
break the poem’s sequence, symmetry, and sense; and this discord must 
have grated as painfully on the aesthetic sensibilities of the poet as it 
grates on ours. What moved the poet to make this clumsy insertion at 
this cost to his work of art ? The answer must be that the picture, here 
presented, of a Race of Heroes was so vividly impressed on the imagina¬ 
tion of the poet and his public that some place had to be found for it in 
any catalogue of the successive ages in their vista of past history; and 
the irony of the poet's predicament is that this massacre of a work of 
art for the sake of paying tribute to an historical reminiscence turns out 
really to have been an unnecessary atrocity. It was unnecessary because 
the Race of Heroes was already ensconced in the original catalogue under 
the sign of the third metal of the four. In other words, the Race of 
Heroes is identical with the Race of Bronze; and the insertion describing 
the heroes is thus, in truth, not an indispensable supplement, but a 
superfluous doublet. 

The identity of the two races becomes transparent as soon as we com¬ 
pare the two passages. In the first place the Heroes’ unnamed metal 
must, in fact, be bronze, since iron only comes in with their successors, 
while their brazen predecessors have already superseded the earlier 
races of silver and gold; and in truth the Homeric Epic is corroborated 
by the researches of Modern Western archaeologists in setting the 
Achaean heroes of a post-Minoan Volkerwanderung in the techno¬ 
logical environment of the Bronze Age. In the second place the ascrip¬ 
tion of the responsibility for the destruction of the Heroes to the 
ostensibly impersonal demonic forces of ‘War’ and ‘Battle’ is manifestly 
a euphemistic periphrasis for the poet’s previous brutal statement of the 
truth that the Race of Bronze ‘were brought low by their own hands’. 
The nameless fratricidal struggles in which the brazen men liquidate 
themselves are none other than the wars in which the Heroes are 
destroyed at the gates of Thebes and under the walls of Troy—and 
therewith the curtain falls on the war-ridden lives, not only of the Men 
of Bronze, but likewise of the Heroes with the exception of a privileged 
(•lite. The majority of the Heroes, who ‘met their end’ in warfare ‘and 
vanished in the embrace of Death’, are the self-same brazen warriors 
who ‘left the bright light of the Sun’ and ‘went their way to the moulder¬ 
ing house of chilly Hades, nameless’, when ‘Death took them in his 
dark grip’. If we leave out of account Menelaus and the handful of 
other fortunate Heroes whom Zeus, in his sovereign caprice, has elected 
to transport to Elysium, the deeds and sufferings and destinies of the two 
races, as described by the poet in these passages, prove, on examination, 
to be the same. 

This discovery is surprising, because the impression made on our 
minds by the two passages, before we thus analyse them, is one not of 
identity but of contrast; and the difference, as well as the likeness, is 
indeed a reality; but, in distinction from the likeness, which is a likeness 



A PHANTASY OF HEROISM 77 

of statements about alleged matters of fact, the difference is a difference 
of aesthetic and emotional atmosphere. The Race of Bronze and the 
Race of Heroes are the same people seen through different mental glasses: 
a lens of faint yet authentic historical reminiscence and a lens of vivid 
but hallucinatory poetic imagination. A single race has, in fact, been 
portrayed by the poet twice over in two pictures which he has been con¬ 
strained to present side by side because he is afflicted—or endowed— 
with an astigmatic vision which he is unable to reduce to a single focus. 

How has this dual vision arisen ? An answer to this riddle is suggested 
by a literary phenomenon which we have already had occasion to notice 
in another context. 1 We have observed that an historical personage or 
event that happens also to become a character or topic of ‘heroic’ poetry 
or saga acquires, in this ‘other world’ of the barbarian poetic imagination, 
a life of its own whose career, as it develops, is apt to part company with 
the statically authentic historical facts of ‘real life’ until sometimes the 
original identity of the two pictures is almost entirely obscured—as can 
be verified in cases in which the historical truth or falsehood of the 
barbarian poet’s picture can be gauged by comparison with the prosaic 
statements of some historian, belonging to a neighbouring civilization, 
who is, himself, a contemporary of the facts that he has put on record. 
On this analogy we may perhaps explain the puzzling dittography in our 
Hesiodic catalogue of the successive races of men by concluding that, 
in this canto, the poet has played for us the historian’s part as well as 
his own. In his grim delineation of the Race of Bronze he has given 
us, in advance, the prose version of his immediately following poetic 
idyll of a Race of Heroes—a fantasy in which the sordid historical facts 
have undergone their characteristic metamorphosis in the radio-active 
medium of a Homeric poetical tradition to which Hesiod is the heir. 

It would be an error, of course, to suppose that our conscientious 
Hesiod is deliberately laying a glossy coat of moral whitewash over his 
heroes’ crude historical criminality. His presentation of the damning 
truth side by side with an ideal picture is evidence of his naive good 
faith; and, indeed, we have noticed above 2 that the barbarian bard who 
has posthumously made a Hesiod his dupe is quite as ready to paint his 
picture darker than the reality of his living model as he is to paint it 
lighter. The notorious creation, in the Nibelungenlied, of an imaginary 
paladin, Dietrich of Bern, out of an historical Theodoric who, ‘in real 
life’, won Verona by his treacherous murder of Odovaccr, is offset by 
the transformation of respectable historical characters into villains. The 
Classical School of Serb ‘heroic’ poetry, which made the counterpart of 
an imaginary chivalrous Dietrich out of the historical traitor Marko 
Kraljevid, simultaneously made the counterpart of an authentic dastardly 
Theodoric out of the historical paladin Vuk Brankovid. 3 The epic poet|s 
concern is, not for his heroes’ and heroines’ moral reputation, but for his 
poetry’s aesthetic merit; and even in this endeavour, professionally in 
earnest though he is, he is at the same time entirely unselfconscious. 

This admirable unselfconsciousness is one of the secrets of the epic 
poet’s dazzling artistic success; and this triumph of a barbarian art is 

« In V. v. 607-14. 2 On p. 61, above. 1 See V. v. 609. 



78 HEROIC AGES 

the solitary creative achievement amid the welter of catastrophic failures 
which a barbarian war-band brings upon itself when it steps across a 
fallen limes to make a moral slum out of the social ruins among which it 
squats. In politics, in religion, and in all the other fields in which the 
barbarians have shown rudimentary’ signs of possessing creative power 
so long as they have been pent back behind the ft/w^-barrage, 1 these 
rudiments of creativity arc blighted, as we have seen, 2 by the de¬ 
moralization that overtakes the barbarians when the collapse of the limes 
spills them out of Limbo into the Promised Land. In the slum of a bar¬ 
barian successor-state the barbarian’s embryonic gift for poetry is the 
only one of his potentialities that comes to flower; and this bud blossoms 
so wonderfully that it lends the waste-land the illusory appearance of a 
paradise. The barbarian bard’s magically successful art casts over the 
barbarian war-lord’s commonplace misconduct and failure ‘in real life’ 
a glamour that deludes a captivated Posterity—as our physical vision is 
enraptured by the irridescent colours that radiate, in patterns of in¬ 
imitable harmony, over the surface of a broken piece of Roman glass or 
of a puddle of oil that has collected in a pot-hole from the leaking 
sump of some limping car. 3 

In social terms the Heroic Age is a great folly, and an even greater 
crime; but in emotional terms it is a great experience: the thrilling ex¬ 
perience of breaking through a barrier which has baffled the barbarian 
invaders’ forebears for many generations past, and bursting out into an 
apparently boundless world that offers what seem to be infinite possi¬ 
bilities. With one glorious exception, all these possibilities turn out, as 
we have seen, to be Dead Sea fruit; the barbarian w r ar-lords and 
warriors throw away their splendid opportunities in crimes and follies 
that swiftly revenge themselves; yet this sensational completeness of the 
barbarians’ misconduct and failure on the social and political planes 
paradoxically ministers to the success of their bards’ creative work; for 
in art, in illuminating antithesis to ‘practical life’, there is more to be 
made out of failure than out of success. 4 

The exhilaration generated by the experience of the Vdlkerwandcrung 

* See pp. 9 -xo, above. . . a On pp. 46-47, above. 

* To be transfigured by this poetic glamour in the imagination of contemporarie* 
and epigoni was the supreme ambition of the barbarian war-lord—the one prize acces¬ 
sible to him that, in his disillusioned eyes, still shone like gold against the drab foil of a 
material power and wealth which had been proved mockingly unrewarding by a bitter 
experience of tasting their fruits and finding them dust and ashes. The poet’s tenure of 
the keys of the war-lord’s hall of fame, which was the only heaven to which the war-lord 
aspired, conferred on the poet a potential political ‘puli' which the sophisticated war¬ 
lord Mu’iwiyah had the acumen to appreciate and the adroitness to turn to his own 
account (sec Lammens, S.J., Lc Pere H.: fitudes sur le Regne du Calife Mo'duia I" 
(Paris 1908, Geuthnerk pp. 252-66). 

* On this point see V. v. 607-14. This truth is illustrated, not only by the choice of 
themes in the primary epic poetry that is evoked by a barbarian Vdlkerwandcrung, but 
also by the history of the secondary epic poetry in which a sophisticated civilization 
proclaims its admiration for a barbamn art by trying its hand at an artificial reproduction 
of the barbarian poet’s genre. Like the original epic, the literary epic is apt to be the 
swan-song of an age that is petering out in disillusionment and failure—as has been 
pointed out by C. M. Bowra in From Virgil to Milton (London 1945, Macmillan), pp. 
28-32. This creative potentiality’ of failure, which had thus proved itself a gold mine for 
poets who worked it as a vein of inspiration, was also, of course, one of the mysteries 
that had been revealed in the higher religions through the passions of the Prophets and 
the Saints. 



A PHANTASY OF HEROISM 79 

—an exhilaration that breaks down into demoralization in the intoxi¬ 
cated souls of the barbarian men of action—inspires the barbarian poet 
serenely to transmute the memory of his heroes’ wickedness and in¬ 
eptitude into a song that will live on Posterity’s lips. In the enchanted 
realm of a poetry that thus magically transfigures the sordid crimes and 
follies by which it is evoked, the barbarian conquistadores achieve 
vicariously the success that eludes their grasp in real life; and herein the 
bard does the hero an even greater sen-ice than Horace avers. 1 He does 
not merely preserve his subject’s memory; he actually creates his charac¬ 
ter by making dead history blossom into immortal romance; and, while 
the effect, as often as not, on his hero’s moral reputation may be to pre¬ 
sent him as a blacker villain than he has actually shown himself to be 
while he has been rollicking, in flesh and blood, across the stage of 
History, one invariable result of the poet’s artistic alchemy is to enhance 
immeasurably the aesthetic attractiveness of the historical lay figure that 
he has taken as his cobbler’s last. Thanks to the barbarian poet’s 
wizardry the squalid realities of the barbarian warrior’s slum exhale a 
phantasy of heroism that long outlives its ephemeral source in the sump 
of authentic history. 

This pearl of Barbarism is appreciated and appropriated by a Posterity 
that has little use for anything else in the barbarian’s otherwise un¬ 
inviting legacy; and the barbarian bard, in the posthumous literary life 
that is thus conferred on him by the canonization of his works, slily 
avenges his discreditable comrades the barbarian war-lord and warrior 
by investing them with an unmerited reputation through an artistic con¬ 
juring trick. The fascination exercised by heroic poetry over its latter- 
day admirers deludes them, as we have observed, 1 into mistaking an 
Heroic Age which is the changeling child of a poet’s imagination for the 
very different historical reality by which the poet’s creative activity has 
been called into play. The poet’s magic touch conjures a 'light that 
never was, on sea or land’, 3 out of the baleful glare of a conflagration 
kindled by the barbarian incendiaries of a devastated world; and this 
theatrical lighting makes a slum look like Valhalla. 

The earliest victim of this illusion is, as we have seen, 4 the poet of a 
Dark Age which is ‘the Heroic Age’s' sequel. As is manifest in retro¬ 
spect, this later age has no need to be ashamed of a darkness which 
signifies that the barbarian incendiaries’ bonfire has at last burnt itself 
out; and, though, after the expiry of that ghastly artificial illumination, a 
bed of ashes smothers the surface of the flame-seared ground, the Dark 
Age proves to be as creative as 'the Heroic Age’ has been destructive. 
When the fire is extinct and the clamour hushed, the Spirit moves again 
upon the face of the waters; and, in the fullness of time, new life duly 
arises from the abyss to clothe the fertile ash-field with shoots of tender 
green. The poetry of Hesiod is one of these harbingers of a returning 
spring-time; yet this honest chanticleer of the darkness before dawn is 
still so blindly infatuated with a poetry inspired by an act of nocturnal 

* Horace: Comma, Book IV, Ode ix. * On p. 78, above. 

» Wordsworth, William: Elegiac Stanzas suggested by a Picture o] Peele Castle in a 
Storm. * On p. 57. above. 



80 HEROIC AGES ‘ 

incendiarism that he takes on faith, as gospel truth, an imaginary Homeric 
picture of a Race of Heroes and is consequently betrayed into despairing 
of the age of promise into which he himself has been born—without 
realizing that any age of history that is experienced ‘in real life’ is bound 
to seem desperately inferior to an Heroic Age whose idyllic beauty has 
never had any existence outside a barbarian poet's imagination. 

Hesiod’s illusion seems strange, considering that, in his picture of the 
Race of Bronze, he has preserved for us, side by side with his confiding 
reproduction of an Homeric fantasy, a merciless portrait of the barbarian 
as he really is. Yet, even without this clue, the heroic myth can be ex¬ 
ploded by detonating the internal evidence. The Heroes turn out, as we 
have perceived, to live the evil lives and die the cruel deaths of the Race 
of Bronze, and Valhalla turns out likewise to be a slum when we switch 
off all the artificial lights and scrutinize dispassionately, in the sober 
light of day, this poetic idealization of the riotous feasting and turbulent 
fighting that, between them, make up the historical barbarians’ daily 
round and common task. The warriors who qualify for admission to 
Valhalla by losing their lives in battle are in truth identical with the 
demons against whom they are called upon to exercise their prowess as 
members of Odin’s ghostly war-band; and, in perishing from off the face 
of the Earth by mutual destruction, the Vikings have already done their 
best to relieve the World of a pandemonium of their own making by 
staging a ragnarok with an ending that is a happy one from every point 
of view except their own. In the Aesir’s mythical last stand, Odin and 
his divine comitatus are Doppelgtinger of the overwhelming powers of 
darkness to which they are fabled to succumb; for this heroic forlorn 
hope is the cunning sagaman’s version of Odin’s ‘Wild Ride’—a tempes¬ 
tuous rout of unbridled passion that brings doom on any unhappy mortal 
who happens to be caught in its hideous blast. 

The hallucination to which a Hesiod succumbs in the archaic prelude 
to a nascent civilization can also take in a sceptical historian in the 
sophisticated intellectual environment of a civilization that has reached, 
and perhaps passed, its maturity—as is attested by the following passage 
which Gibbon has allowed himself to write in The History of the Decline 
and Fall of the Roman Empire: 

‘The sublime Longinus, who ... in the court of a Syrian queen 
preserved the spirit of ancient Athens, observes and laments [the] 
degeneracy of his contemporaries, which debased their sentiments, en¬ 
ervated their courage, and depressed their talents. "In the same manner,” 
says he, "as some children always remain pigmies, whose infant limbs 
have been too closely confined; thus our tender minds, fettered by the 
prejudices and habits of a just servitude, arc unable to expand themselves, 1 
or to attain that well-proportioned greatness which we admire in the 
Ancients, who, living under a popular government, wrote with the same 
freedom as they acted.” This diminutive stature of Mankind, if we pur- 

* °*' v ' • • • rovroviorov a«ov<o, ra y\ajTr6x0fia, Iv oU oi rrvyuatoi xaXov/u- 

i-oc 6i vfo* vpe^ovrax, oii fioVov rwv iynttcXturjUvotv Tat aiSfyans, dMa teal 

otvapoc [?1 Sid rov ircpiKuutvov rots oat/iaot Stoftov, oCrag, anaoav tovMlav, xav f) 
dutaiOTdrrj, VL'X’li yXwrroKOttov xai xotro k ai- nf anoStvruro &*oua>Ap Longi¬ 
nus l?]: / 7 <pl Ytfov t. chap, xliv, § 5. 



A PHANTASY OF HEROISM 81 

sue the metaphor, was daily sinking below the old standard, and the 
Roman World was indeed peopled by a race of pigmies, when the fierce 
giants of the North broke in and mended the puny breed. They restored 
a manly spirit of freedom; and, after the revolution of ten centuries, 
freedom became the happy parent of taste and science.’ 1 

After this awe-inspiring exhibition of the barbarian poet-conjurer’s 
power to hoax a giant eighteenth-century intellect, we can hardly be 
surprised to see a nineteenth-century philosopher-mountebank launch¬ 
ing his myth of a salutarily barbarian ‘Nordic Race’ whose blood— 
unique in this among all brews of human ichor—acts as an infallible 
elixir of youth when it is injected into the veins of an ‘effete’ society. 2 Yet 
we may still be cut to the heart as we watch the lively French aristocrat’s 
political jeu d'esprit being keyed up into a racial myth by the criminal 
prophets of a demonic German Neobarbarism that surpasses in wicked¬ 
ness the original Barbarism which it seeks to revive in the measure in which 
a wilful apostate from a higher religious faith surpasses in perversity 
the invincibly ignorant heathen. 3 


(II) A GENUINE HUMBLE SERVICE 

While the criminality of a barbarian Vdlkerwanderung can thus work 
posthumous moral havoc on the strength of its brilliant poetic mas¬ 
querade as an idyllic heroism, there have also been occasions on which 
an unbridled barbarian interloper has performed a humble service for 
Posterity that proves, in retrospect, to have been of genuine value. At 
the transition from the civilizations of the first generation to those of the 
second, the interloping barbarian war-bands that established themselves 
in a dying civilization’s former domain did in some cases provide a link 
between the defunct civilization and its newborn successor, as, in the 
subsequent transition from the civilizations of the second generation to 
those of the third, a link was provided by chrysalis-churches created by 
the secondary civilizations’ internal proletariats. 4 The Syriac and Hellenic 
civilizations, for instance, were thus linked with an antecedent Minoan 
Civilization through this Minoan Society’s external proletariat, and the 
Hittite Civilization stood in the same historical relation to an antecedent 
Sumeric Civilization, the Indie Civilization to an antecedent Indus 
Culture (supposing that this Indus Culture were to turn out to have 
been independent of the Sumeric Civilization), and the Sinic Civilization 
to an antecedent Shang Culture (supposing that the progress of archaeo¬ 
logical research were to confirm this Shang Culture’s title to rank as a 
full-blown civilization of the first generation). 

The modesty of the service that these particular barbarian war-bands 

» Gibbon, E.: TheHiitoryof the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap, ti, ad fin, 

1 The fallacy of ascribing to societies a senescence that is a property' of individual 
living organisms has been criticized in IV. iv. 7-13. 

J Count de Gobineau’s fantasy and its consequences in real life have been touched 
upon in II. i. 216-xo. 

* Sec the table of primitive societies, civilizations, and higher religions, nrranged in 
serial order, facing p. 47 of volume vii. 



82 HEROIC AGES 

performed is brought out by our comparison of it with the role of 
the chrysalis-churches. While the Internal Proletariat that builds the 
churches, like the External Proletariat that breeds the war-bands, is the 
offspring of a psychological secession from a disintegrating civilization, 
and while neither branch of the Proletariat carries this repudiation of 
its former cultural allegiance so far as to make no use at all of the 
Dominant Minority’s cultural heritage in creating the rudiments of a 
new culture with a distinctive character of its own, the Internal Prole¬ 
tariat is apt to make a much greater success than the External Proletariat 
ever makes of the cultural enterprise of 'spoiling the Egyptians’. In the 
higher religions which had been the Internal Proletariat’s chefs-d'auvre, 
the cultural spoils of a disintegrating civilization had been transmuted 
into new creations to a far greater extent, and with a far more telling 
effect, than in the new social and political institutions, the new religions, 
or even the new poetry of the barbarians beyond the pale; and this 
difference in degree of cultural assimilative power could be gauged by 
the difference iii the strength of the link between a successor civilization 
and its predecessor when this link had been supplied by a chrysalis- 
church and when it had been supplied by a barbarian war-band. 

For example, the Orthodox Christian and the Western Civilization, 
which were affiliated to the antecedent Hellenic Civilization through the 
Christian Church, had always been on far more intimate terms with their 
Hellenic predecessor than the Hellenic Civilization ever had been with 
a Minoan predecessor with which it had been affiliated solely through 
the Achaean barbarians. Through this non-conductivc barbarian 
medium the Hellenic Civilization’s reception of the antecedent Minoan 
Civilization’s posthumous radiation of its cultural influence had been 
so faint and fragmentary that, in contrast to the Christian civilizations' 
intimacy with an antecedent Hellenism, the Hellenic Civilization gave 
the impression of being oblivious of its Minoan predecessor. It was, in¬ 
deed, so little conscious of its Minoan antecedents that it might almost 
be mistaken—as its two ‘Hellenistic’ Christian successors never could 
be—for one of those civilizations of the earliest generation that had had 
no previous civilization at all in their cultural background. The Hellenic 
Society’s living cultural heritage from the Achaean barbarians included 
no institutions of Minoan or post-Minoan origin, and no authentic con¬ 
temporary records of any periods of the antecedent civilization’s history. 
The sole fount of Hellenic knowledge of a pre-Hellenic past was the 
Homeric Epic; and, for the history of an antecedent civilization, the 

S bequeathed by barbarians is a doubly deceptive source of in¬ 
ion. In general the barbarian poet creates his work of art by taking 
unlimited liberties with the record of authentic facts; 1 and, in particular, 
this intuitive artistic criterion governing the poet’s treatment of his 
subject leads him to ignore the moribund civilization whose death 
agonies have precipitated the barbarian Volkerwanderung as a matter 
of historical fact, but whose tragedy is incomprehensible to barbarian 
minds. 2 Eschewing such intractable matter, the barbarian bard presents 
the barbarian Heroic Age in vacuo , with no more than a casual reference, 

1 See V. v. 607-14. «nd pp. 77-79, above. a Sec V. v. 610-14. 



A GENUINE HUMBLE SERVICE 83 

here and there, to the mighty carcass on which the bard’s vulture- 
heroes have gathered together to make their carrion feasts. 

On this showing, the service with which we have credited the 
Achacans and the other barbarians of their generation who played the 
same transmissive role might seem at first sight to dwindle almost to 
vanishing-point. What did it really amount to? Its reality becomes evi¬ 
dent when we compare the destinies of those civilizations of the second 
generation that were affiliated to predecessors by this tenuous barbarian 
link with the destinies of the rest of the secondary civilizations. As we 
have observed in previous contexts, 1 any secondary civilizations that 
were not affiliated to their primary predecessors through these pre¬ 
decessors’ external proletariats were affiliated to them through their 
dominant minorities; and these were the only two alternative lines of 
affiliation in this chapter of history, since no chrysalis-churches came 
out of the rudimentary higher religions—a worship of Tammuz and 
Ishtar and a worship of Osiris and Isis—that had been created or 
adopted by some of the primary civilizations’ internal proletariats. 
Secondary civilizations affiliated through external proletariats and 
secondary civilizations affiliated through dominant minorities are the 
only civilizations of this generation that are known to us; and, when we 
compare these two types, we observe a difference in their destinies corres¬ 
ponding to a difference in their characters. 

In character these two types of secondary civilization stand at oppo¬ 
site poles. Whereas those secondary civilizations that were affiliated 
through external proletariats were connected with their predecessors by 
a link that is so tenuous that it hardly serves to distinguish them from 
civilizations of the primary class that had no predecessors at all of their 
own social species, the rest of the secondary civilizations, which were 
affiliated through dominant minorities, were, on the other hand, so 
closely welded thereby to their predecessors of the first generation that 
we have found ourselves wondering whether we ought not to treat their 
histories as mere epilogues to those of the antecedent civilizations in¬ 
stead of according them the status of separate civilizations with histories 
of their own. 2 Whichever of the two possible answers to this question 
may be the nearer to the truth, there is no ambiguity about the destinies 
of these ‘supra-affiliated secondary civilizations’ or ‘dead trunks of 
primary civilizations’—to give the societies of this type their two alter¬ 
native labels. There were three known examples of the type—the 
Babylonic Civilization, affiliated to the Sumcric Civilization, and the 
Yucatcc and Mcxic civilizations, affiliated to the Mayan—and none of 
these three ‘supra-affiliated secondary civilizations’ had come to serve, 
in its disintegration, as the chrysalis of any living higher religion. All the 
living higher religions had been created by the internal proletariats of 
other civilizations of the second generation—the Syriac Civilization, the 
Hellenic, the Indie, the Sinic—whose own affiliation with their pre¬ 
decessors of the first generation had run, not through the Dominant 
Minority, but through the External Proletariat. 

« In I. i. 115-18 and 131-2. and VII. vii. 421. above. 

* Thi* question has been raised in I. i. x 17-18 and 133-6. 



8 4 HEROIC AGES 

If we call to mind, in this connexion, our conclusion, reached in the 
preceding Part of this Study, 1 that our serial order of chronologically 
successive types of society is at the same time an ascending order of 
value, in which the higher religions would be the highest term so far 
attained, we shall now bbserve that the barbarian chrysalises of civiliza¬ 
tions of the second generation would have to their credit the honour of 
having participated in the higher religions' procreation. They would 
have been, so to speak, the higher religions’ ‘grandparents’; 2 for the 
higher religions that had come to flower had all been created by the 
internal proletariats of civilizations of the second generation which had 
been affiliated with their own predecessors of the first generation through 
barbarian war-bands. These contributions of these barbarians to the 
geneses of the higher religions can be conveyed most simply and clearly 
in the form of genealogical tables. 


The Minonn Civilization 

The post-Minoan barbarians 
(Philistines, Achaeans) 


The Syriac Civilization 
Istam 

(derived from 
the Syriac 
Civilization 
through ita 
internal pro¬ 
letariat) 


The Hellenic 


The Indus Culture 

The post-Indus Culture 
barbarians (Aryas) 

Civilization The Indie Civilization 


Christianity 
(derived from 
the Hellenic 
Civilization 
through it* 
internal pro¬ 
letariat) 


The MahflyAna Hindi 


. ina 
(derived from 
the Hellenic 
and Indie 
Civilizations 
through their 
internal pro¬ 
letariats) 


uiam 
(derived from 
the Indie 
Civilization 
through its 
internal pro¬ 
letariat) 


If the failures of the civilizations of the first generation to produce 
full-fledged higher religions had been followed only by the geneses of 
secondary civilizations affiliated to their primary predecessors solely 
through these predecessors’ dominant minorities, the actual subsequent 
sterility of all the secondary civilizations of this type suggests that a 
second opportunity for the creation of higher religions might then never 
have presented itself. The actual recurrence of the opportunity, and the 
flowering, in this second spring, of Christianity, Islam, the MahaySna, 
and Hinduism, seem to have been historical consequences of the geneses 
of other secondary civilizations that were affiliated with their primary 
predecessors through barbarians; and these barbarian foster-parents of 
the Syriac, Hellenic, and Indie civilizations would thus appear to have 
played a positive, and perhaps indispensable, part in Mankind’s gradual 
and laborious advance towards the goal of human endeavours. 

Yet, when we have taken due note of this service and estimated it at its 
full value, we shall find ourselves still rating it as a modest one on a com¬ 
parative view. Our conclusion that the role of serving as a cultural 
chrysalis is the highest to which any barbarian war-band had ever 

1 See VII. vii. 448-9. 

* For the sake of brevity, we may perhaps allow ourselves here the perilous licence 
of describing a process of social growth in terms of the procreation of organic life— 
without forgetting that, in truth, societies are not living organisms (sec III. iii. 219-23 
and IV. iv. n-12). 



A GENUINE HUMBLE SERVICE 8 S 

attained presents a significant contrast to our conclusion 1 that a church, 
when it had played the same role, had been digressing from its proper 
course on a charitable errand which, at the best, would delay, and, at 
the worst, might frustrate, the accomplishment of the church’s own 
proper spiritual mission. If this role is a pis-aller for a performer that 
plays it so admirably as a church does play the chrysalis-role when it 
charitably condescends to it, the very much less effective performance 
of the same part by a barbarian war-band cannot be rated as being 
anything more than modestly meritorious. And even this slight com¬ 
pensation for the enormous social havoc that ever}' barbarian war-band 
had worked had been paid only by a tiny minority of the war-bands that 
had made their devastating cyclone-passages through history. 

Even at the transition from the first to the second generation of civiliza¬ 
tions the barbarians bred by the primary civilizations’ disintegration did 
not by any means always play even the moderately creative part of 
fostering a secondary civilization’s birth. 

The Hyksos barbarians who assembled their forces in Palestine and 
the Philistine and Achaean barbarian foster-fathers of the Syriac and 
Hellenic civilizations produced, for example, the very opposite of a 
creative effect in their impacts on the Egyptiac World. In these Nilotic 
escapades, so far from promoting the genesis of a new civilization, the 
barbarians performed the most untoward miracle of galvanizing a mori¬ 
bund civilization into a long protracted life-in-death by goading it into 
a fanatically archaistic reaction against their provocative trespasses. The 
Hyksos’ successful invasion of the Egyptiac World from an Asian no- 
man’s-land* blighted any creative potentialities that might have been 
latent in an embryonic Osirian Church by driving the internal proletariat 
into the arms of the dominant minority in an union sacrie which achieved 
the forcible expulsion of the interloping barbarians at the cost of sterili¬ 
zing a nascent higher religion; 1 and the Philistines' and Achaeans’unsuc¬ 
cessful attempt to invade the Egyptiac World some four hundred years 
after the eviction of the Hyksos had a comparably maleficent effect on 
the course of Egyptiac history. By evoking Ramses Ill’s tour de force of 
flinging them bade from the coast of the Delta, ‘the Sea Peoples’ not only 
provoked the Egyptiac Society into expending the last reserves of its 
already depleted energy; they inflicted on their victim a still graver in¬ 
jury by reinflaming in him a fanaticism that kept the patient anaemically 
alive at a moment when the senile Egyptiac body social was being offered 
a second chance of a merciful release from life through the natural decay 
of ‘the New Empire’. The inopportune intervention of the Hyksos had 
already doubled the term of the Egyptiac Society’s penal servitude in the 
prison-house of a universal state by conjuring up ‘the New Empire’ to 
repeat the course which ‘the Middle Empire’ had by then already run. 
The equally inopportune intervention of ‘the Sea Peoples’ cheated 
the prisoner of the belated discharge that he might have expected to 


1 In VII. vii. 447-8. t 

3 Alternative views on the Hyksos’ provenance are noticed in the note on Chronology 
in x. 167-212. 
s See I. i. 143-5. 



86 HEROIC AGES 

receive after the expiry of the second instalment of his life-in-death 
sentence. 1 

On this showing, we may put down to the barbarians’ account the 
difference between the sequels to Egyptiac and Sumeric history. While 
the provocativencss of the Hyksos and the turbulence of 'the Sea 
Peoples’ deterred a moribund Egyptiac society from duly dying and 
thereby leaving the field free for a successor to take its place, the 
Sumeric Society was more fortunate in being afflicted on its deathbed 
with less stimulating barbarian parasites. The Mitanni barbarians, en 
route from the Eurasian Steppe to Syria, seem to have passed the Land 
of Shinar by, and the raid in which the Hittite barbarians sacked Babylon 
seems to have been as brief as it was devastating. The maggots that 
fastened on the carcass of a moribund Sumeric Society were the sluggish 
Kassites, whose intrusion did not arouse sufficient antagonism to arrest 
the process of nature. Unimpeded by the Kassitc incubus, the trans¬ 
formation of a moribund Sumeric Society into a nascent Babylonic 
Society, through the agency of the Sumeric dominant minority, is 
gradually accomplished before our eyes; and this spectacle raises the 
question whether the Egyptiac Society might not have succeeded in 
similarly making way for a new society of the ‘supra-affiliated’ type 
exemplified in the Babylonic Civilization, if only, at the psychologically 
favourable moment, when ‘the Middle Empire’ was in extremis, the 
Egyptiac World had had the good fortune to be invaded, not, as was its 
actual fate, by the perversely stimulating Hyksos, but by those Kassite- 
like Libyans who eventually drifted in, after ‘the Sea Peoples’ had come 
and gone, so uneventfully that their intrusion failed to produce the usual 
bout of militant Egyptiac xenophobia. 

If the inauspicious influence of the Hyksos and ‘the Sea Peoples’ on 
the course of Egyptiac history has to be set against the merit with which 
the barbarians of the first breed are to be credited for their service as 
foster-parents of creative secondary civilizations, what verdict are we 
to pass on those barbarians of the second breed who were part of the 
offspring of the secondary* civilizations in their disintegration ? While the 
internal proletariats of the creative secondary civilizations were bringing 
the living higher religions to birth, a fresh litter of barbarian war-bands 
was being spawned by the external proletariats of secondary civilizations 
of both the creative and the uncreative type. If we are right in regarding 
the epiphany of the higher religions as being the highest reach of Man¬ 
kind’s progress so far, we shall have to pass the same verdict on the 
second crop of barbarian war-bands that we have passed on the third crop 
of secular civilizations. Our verdict on these tertiary civilizations that 
broke out of chrysalis-churches has been that, at the best, they were 
‘vain repetitions of the heathen’ 2 and, at the worst, pernicious back- 
slidings from the ideals and endeavours of the higher religions for which 
the creative secondary civilizations had served as chrysalises. 3 In foster¬ 
ing the birth of the higher religions, those chrysalis-civilizations of the 

1 Thi* recurrent galvanization of a moribund Egyptiac Society into renewed bout* 
of life-in-death by repeated blows from alien assailants has been noticed in VI. vii. 
49 - 50 - * Matt. vi. i See VII. vii. 445. 



A GENUINE HUMBLE SERVICE 87 

second generation had fulfilled the highest mission of which their species 
was capable, and had thereby rendered superfluous any further reproduc¬ 
tion of their kind. On the same line of reasoning, any further reproduction 
of barbarian war-bands must be pronounced to be superfluous after one 
litter of war-bands had fulfilled the highest mission open to their kind 
by fostering the birth of the chrysalis-civilizations. 

This anticipatory judgement by analogy is confirmed by the evidence 
of the secondary barbarians’ actual histories; for these barbarians of the 
second breed had had no opportunity of performing even the modestly 
creative role of their predecessors the barbarian foster-fathers of the 
Syriac, Hellenic, and Indie civilizations. The secondary barbarians whose 
genesis had been coeval with the epiphany of the living higher religions 
had faded out ingloriously in the presence of these great lights. 1 The 
dayspring from on liigh 

restinxit Stellas, exortus ut aetherius sol. 1 

If this is our verdict on the barbarians of the second breed, what are we 
to say of the barbarians of a third breed that had been generated by the 
disintegration of civilizations of the third generation? At the time of 
writing it looked, as we have already observed, 3 as if these latter-day 
barbarians were all fated to be swept off the board by the irresistibly 
superior military force of a mechanically armed Western Civilization 
whose own doom likewise might be heralded by the military triumph of 
a technology in which a Modem Western Man had wilfully put his 
treasure. In a Westernizing World in the Age of the World Wars the 
formidable barbarism—and this was formidable indeed—was an archa- 
istic Neobarbarism that was menacing a hard-pressed society, not from 
outside, but from within. 4 

This Modern Western Neobarbarism has come to our attention in 
another context. 5 Our subject in the present Part of this Study has been 
the less sinister Barbarism that is a perversion, not of a civilization in 
decay, but of a primitive society whose traditional way of life has been 
broken up by a decadent civilization’s impact; and the conclusion that 
we have reached is that a barbarian war-band spawned by a disintegrat¬ 
ing civilization’s external proletariat, like a universal state constructed 
by a dominant minority, achieves its highest possible destiny in meeting 
a fate that we should have accounted a supreme disaster if it had over¬ 
taken any of the higher religions. Whereas a church puts its mission in 
jeopardy by serving as a chrysalis, a war-band, like a universal state, 
fulfills its mission by immolating itself as a Phoenix in order that a new 
and higher life may spring from its quickening ashes. 6 The barbarian 
war-bands that had ‘made history’ were those few that had died in giving 
birth to civilizations that had died in their turn to give birth to higher 
religions; for in the higher religions God had revealed to Mankind— 
through a glass, darkly 7 —a gleam of the light of His countenance. 8 


1 On this point, see I. i. 58-62 and 440. n. 2. 

* Lucretius: De Rerum Natura, Book 111 , 1 . 1044. 


See V. v. 


4 For this rolc^of a universal state, see VI. vii. 
’ 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 


J In V. v. 332-4. 

Ibid. 

. 6; xliv. 3; lxxxix. is: *c. 8. 



IX 


CONTACTS BETWEEN 
CIVILIZATIONS IN SPACE 

(Encounters between Contemporaries) 

A. AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 


(I) THE SELF-TRANSCENDENCE OF 
CIVILIZATIONS 


J N the three immediately preceding parts of this book' we have followed 
up our general study of the problem, nature, and process of the dis¬ 
integrations of civilizations by making particular studies of the institu¬ 
tions created by each of the three factions into which the body social of a 
disintegrating civilization splits up. We have studied successively the 
universal states, the universal churches, and the barbarian war-bands 
that arc the characteristic creations of the dominant minorities and the 
internal and external proletariats of societies that have convicted them¬ 
selves of having broken down by falling into schism; and the conclusion 
of these three supplementary historical inquiries would have brought us 
to the end of our study of History itself if our initial working hypothesis 
that civilizations are intelligible fields of study 1 had proved to hold good 
for a study of all phases of their histories. 

Actually we have found that a civilization can be studied intelligibly 
in isolation so long as we are considering its genesis, its growth, or its 
breakdown. Indeed, the historical evidence that has presented itself in 
our empirical survey of breakdowns has seemed to warrant the conclu¬ 
sion that the breakdown of a civilization is invariably due to some inward 
failure of self-determination and never due to blows delivered by exter¬ 
nal agencies . 3 After passing, however, from our study of breakdowns to 
our study of disintegrations, we have found ourselves unable to under¬ 
stand this last phase of a broken-down civilization’s history without 
extending our mental range of vision, beyond the bounds of the disinte¬ 
grating civilization itself, to take account of the impact of external 
forces . 4 Even if we ignore the tell-tale label that we have affixed to the 
barbarians beyond a disintegrating civilization’s limes, and decide to 
treat this ‘External Proletariat’ as an integral part of the society on 
which it preys—on the ground that the barbarian is not so much an 
alien as an alienated proselyte from a primitive way of life 3 —we cannot 
deny the alien origin of those elements in an internal proletariat that 
have been incorporated through conquests at the expense of an alien 
civilization, and cannot overlook the importance of the part that has been 

I Parts VI-VIII. 

1 The considerations that have led us to work on this hypothesis up to this point have 
been set out in I. i. 17-50. > See IV. iv, passim . 

4 Sec V. v. 339-40. i See V. v. 294-210 and VIII, passim. 



THE SELF-TRANSCENDENCE OF CIVILIZATIONS 89 
played by creative inspirations from this alien source in the geneses of 
some of those higher religions that the Internal Proletariat has brought 
to birth. 1 

Thus the history of a single civilization ceases to be intelligible in 
isolation when it enters its disintegration-phase; and this discovery that 
our initial working hypothesis is not valid for the study of all historical 
situations has been confirmed by our subsequent investigations into 
universal states, universal churches, and heroic ages; for each of these 
investigations has carried us beyond the limits, in both Space and Time, 
of the particular civilizations whose declines and falls have generated 
the institutions that we have been investigating. Our conclusion has been 
that the barbarians bred by the disintegration of one civilization have 
made a mark on history in so far as they have succeeded in fostering the 
birth of another civilization which eventually, after breaking down and 
disintegrating in its turn, has ministered to the rise of one of the higher 
religions by providing a framework for it in the shape of a universal 
state. Universal states, like barbarian war-bands, have made their mark 
by unintentionally and unconsciously working, not for themselves, but 
for other beneficiaries; and these beneficiaries have all been alien in the 
sense of being foreign to the particular civilization in the history of 
whose disintegration the particular universal state has been an episode. 
The higher religions have proved to be new societies of a different 
species from the civilizations under the aegis of whose universal states 
they have made their epiphanies; and, in so far as universal states have 
not made their mark by performing services for universal churches, 
they have made it by performing them for barbarians or for alien 
civilizations. 

These alien civilizations, like the barbarians beyond the pale, have 
been certified as being alien by the simple and obvious geographical fact 
that their places of origin have lain outside the frontiers of the universal 
state on whose domain they have eventually trespassed and whose in¬ 
stallations and institutions they have taken over. Yet some—and these 
not the least notable—of the higher religions that have made their 
epiphany inside those frontiers have been no less alien on that account, 
for their adherents have felt themselves, and been felt by their pagan 
neighbours, to be ‘in but not of’ the disintegrating society within whose 
body social, in its universal state, the religion has made its first appear¬ 
ance; and, as we have just reminded ourselves, this aloofness, where it 
has displayed itself, has been a psychological expression of the historical 
fact that the source of the religion’s creative inspiration has been alien 
to the tradition of the society within whose universal state the new 
religion has first presented itself to Mankind. The Roman Empire 
provided an Hellenic-made cradle for a Syriac-inspired Christianity, 
while the Kushan barbarian successor-state of the Bactrian Greek 
Empire provided a likewise Hellenic-made cradle for an Indic-inspired 
Mahayana; and, though it is true, on the other hand, that, unlike 
Christianity and the Mahayana, Islam and Hinduism each drew its 
inspiration from a civilization that provided it with its political cradle as 
» See I. i. 57 and V. v. 359-63. 



90 AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 
well, it is also true that, in the geneses of these two higher religions like¬ 
wise, there had been a previous chapter in which more than one civiliza¬ 
tion had been concerned. A Syriac-inspired Islam and its Syriac-made 
cradle the Caliphate were Syriac reactions on the religious and on the 
political plane to a foregoing intrusion of Hellenism on the Syriac 
World; and a subsequent intrusion of Hellenism on the Indie World had 
similarly evoked both an Indic-inspired Hinduism and its Indic-made 
cradle the Guptan Empire. It thus appears that the genesis of each of 
the higher religions that were still alive in the twentieth century of the 
Christian Era becomes intelligible only when we expand our field of 
study from the ambit of a single civilization to embrace encounters 
between two civilizations or more. 1 


(II) BIRTHPLACES OF RELIGIONS IN 
MEETINGPLACES OF CIVILIZATIONS 

The importance of the part played in the geneses of higher religions by 
encounters between different civilizations is indicated by one of the 
commonplaces of historical geography which is as remarkable as it is 
familiar. When we mark down the birthplaces of the higher religions 
on a map, we find them clustering in and round two relatively small 
patches 1 of the total land-surface of the Old World—on the one hand the 
Oxus-Jaxartes Basin and on the other hand Syria (in the broad sense in 
which this term had been used, in the vocabulary of physical geography, 
to cover an area bounded by the North Arabian Steppe, the Mediter¬ 
ranean Sea, and the southern escarpments of the Anatolian and Armenian 
plateaux). 3 The Oxus-Jaxartes Basin was the birthplace of the Mah3y5na 
in the form in which this religion spread from there over the Far 
Eastern World; and, before that, it had been the birthplace of Zoroas¬ 
trianism—as appeared to be generally agreed among Modern Western 
scholars, however widely they might differ in their dating of the epiphany 
of the Prophet Zarathustra. In Syria, Christianity acquired at Antioch 
the form in which it spread from there over the Hellenic World as a 
new religion, after having made its first appearance, as a variety of 
Pharisaic Judaism, in Galilee. Judaism itself and the sister religion of the 
Samaritans arose in Southern Syria, in the hill country between the 
Mediterranean coastal plain and the Jordan canon. The Monothclcte 
Christianity of the Maronites and the Hakim-worshipping Shi'ism of 

1 This conclusion has been anticipated in V. v. 372-6. The same point is made in a 
letter, dated the 16th December, 1950, and published in The A'etc York Timet of the 
20th December, 1950, from Professor Th. H. von Laue of Swarthmorc College, Penn¬ 
sylvania, in which this Western historian contends that the current competition between 
rival cultures and ideologies in a coalescing Oikoumcni cannot be made intelligible to 
students of History in the United States if their field of study is confined to the history 
of their own Western Civilization. a See xi, maps 21 a and b. 

1 It will be seen that Syria, in this physical sense of the term, is approximately con¬ 
terminous with the combined area of four successor-states of the Ottoman Empire— 
Syria, Transjordan, the Lebanon, and Palestine—that were carved out in the peace- 
settlement following the General War of a.d. 1914-18. After the close of the General 
War of A.D. 1939-45, Palestine was partitioned de facto between a new Jewish state 
which took the name ‘Israel', a Transjordan which re-named itself 'Jordan', and an 
Egypt which made a lodgment in the south-west comer of the partitioned territory. 



BIRTHPLACES OF RELIGIONS 91 

the Druses both came to birth in Central Syria—the Druse Church in the 
fastnesses of Mount Hermon and the Maronite Church in those of the 
Lebanon. 

This geographical concentration of the birthplaces of higher religions 
becomes still more conspicuous when we extend our horizon to take in 

Z 'ons adjacent to the two core-areas. Both the Nestorian and the 
nophysite variety of the Syriac version of a Hellenized Christianity 
took shape in and round Urfa-Edessa, in the Mesopotamian prolonga¬ 
tion of Syria towards the East between the North Arabian Steppe and 
Mount Masius, while the HijazI prolongation of Syria towards the 
South, along the highlands between the Red Sea coastal plain and the 
steppes of the Najd, saw the birth, at Mecca and Medina, of a Christian 
heresy which became the new religion of Islam. The Shi'i heretical form 
of Islam, like the Manichaean heretical form of Zoroastrianism,' was 
born on the eastern shore of the North Arabian Steppe, in a borderland 
between ‘the Desert’ and ‘the Sown’ in which the radiation of religious 
influences from Syria and the Hij2z through the conductive medium of 
the Steppe impinged upon the Euphratean marches of Tr5q. When we 
similarly extend the radius of our observation of tire Oxus-Jaxartcs Basin, 
we locate the birthplace of the MahaySna, in its first appearance as a 
variation on the philosophy of Primitive Buddhism, in the adjacent 
Basin of the Indus; the birthplace of this Primitive Buddhism in the 
Middle Ganges Basin, and the birthplace of a post-Buddhaic Hinduism 
in the same quarter of the Indian Sub-Continent. 

What is the explanation of these remarkable facts ? When wc look into 
the characteristics of the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin and Syria and compare 
them with one another, we perceive a feature, prominent in both, which 
accounts for their historic role in the geneses of higher religions and 
makes it clear that the likeness between their histories had been the out¬ 
come, not of some freakish play of Chance, but of an underlying likeness 
between their geographical locations. 

This prominent common feature of Syria and the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin 
is the capacity, with which each of them had been endowed by Nature, 
for serving as a ‘roundabout’ where traffic coming in from any point of 
the compass could be switched to any other point of the compass in 
any number of alternative combinations and permutations . 2 On the 
Syrian ‘roundabout’, routes converged from the Nile Basin, from the 
Mediterranean, from Anatolia with its South-East European continental 
hinterland, from the Tigris-Euphrates Basin, and from an Arabian Steppe 
which, in the purview of human geography, may be regarded as ‘a water¬ 
less sea’ in virtue of its sea-like cultural conductivity . 3 On the Central 
Asian ‘roundabout’, similarly, routes converged from the Tigris- 
Euphrates Basin via the Iranian Plateau, from India through the passes 
over the Hindu Kush, from the Far East via the Tarim Basin, and 
from an adjacent Eurasian Steppe that had taken the place, and inherited 

< See V. v. 575-80. 

1 This function of the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin in the human geography of the Old World 
has been noticed in V. v. 131-40. 

3 This analogy between the Steppe and the Sea has been noticed in I. i. 64; III. 
iii. 7-8, 278, n. i, 391-4, and 399. 



92 AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 

the conductivity, of a now desiccated ‘Second Mediterranean’ whose 
former presence there was attested by its fragmentary survival in the 
Caspian, the Sea of Aral, and Lake Balkash. 

The role for which Nature had thus designed these two potential 
traffic-centres had actually, as we know, been played by each of them 
again and again during the five or six thousand years that had passed 
since the emergence of the earliest civilizations. Syria had been the scene 
of encounters between the Sumeric and Egyptiac civilizations before the 
dissolution of the Sumeric Civilization in the seventeenth century B.C.; 
between the Egyptiac, abortive First Syriac, Hittite, and Minoan 
civilizations from the sixteenth to the twelfth century b.c.; between 
the Syriac, Babylonic, Egyptiac, and Hellenic civilizations and a fossil 
remnant of the Hittite Civilization from the twelfth century B.c. to the 
seventh century of the Christian Era; between the Syriac, Orthodox 
Christian, and Western Christian civilizations from the seventh to the 
thirteenth century of the Christian Era; and between the Arabic, 
Iranic, and Western since the thirteenth century, while the Nomadic 
Civilization of the Afrasian and Eurasian steppes has been an additional 
party to all these encounters. 1 The corresponding record of Central 
Asia’s geographical service as a cultural meeting-point would also be 
impressive if Syria’s record were not so extraordinary. The Oxus- 
Jaxartes Basin had been the scene of encounters between the Syriac and 
Indie civilizations from the sixth century b.c. to the eighth century of 
the Christian Era; between the Syriac, Indie, Hellenic, and Sinic from 
the fourth century b.c. to the fifth century of the Christian Era; and 
between the Syriac Civilization, the main body of the Far Eastern 
Civilization, and the Tantric Mahayanian Buddhist fossil of a by-then- 
cxtinct Indie Civilization from the fifth century of the Christian Era to 
the thirteenth. 

These series of encounters between divers civilizations on Syrian and 
on Central Asian ground, which had borne spiritual fruit in the births 
of higher religions, had been registered on the political plane in the 
repeated inclusion of each of these two peculiarly ‘numiniferous’ regions 
in universal states, or in other empires performing similar social func¬ 
tions, that had been thrown up by these colliding civilizations in the 
course of their histories. 

Syria appears to have been included alternately in the Sumeric ‘Empire 
of the Four Quarters’ and in the Egyptiac ‘Middle Empire’ from the 
twenty-first to the seventeenth century b.c.; in the seventeenth century 
it formed part of a Hyksos successor-state of ‘the Empire of the Four 
Quarters’ which had flooded over the derelict domain of ‘the Middle 
Empire’ and had established its headquarters in the Nile Delta; from 
the sixteenth to the fourteenth century B.c. it was included in ‘the New 
Empire’ of Egypt; in the thirteenth century b.c. it was partitioned 
between this ‘New Empire’ of Egypt and the Hittite Power; in the 
eighth and seventh centuries b.c. it was incorporated progressively into 
the Assyrian Empire, and in the sixth century it was annexed in its 

1 These encounters between a number of civilizations on Syrian ground have been 
noticed, in passing, in V. v. 117-18 and 488. 



BIRTHPLACES OF RELIGIONS 93 

entirety (including the southern principalities of Judah, Edom, and 
Moab, which had just escaped failing under the Assyrian yoke) to a 
Neo-Babylonian Empire which, in the course of the same century, was 
swallowed up, entire, in the vaster empire of the Achaemenidae. From 
the fourth to the second century b . c . Syria was a bone of contention 
between the Achaemcnids’ Seleucid and Ptolemaic successor-states; 
but in the last century b . c . it was politically reunited, without being 
liberated from alien rule, through being annexed to the Roman Empire, 
and thereafter it continued to form part of the Roman imperial body 
politic for seven hundred years—till, in the seventh century of the 
Christian Era, its conquest from the Roman Empire by the Primitive 
Muslim Arabs resulted in its inclusion, without any interval of inde¬ 
pendence, in a Caliphate which was a revival of the Achaemenian 
Empire. Upon the breakdown of the 'Abbasid imperial regime in the 
tenth century of the Christian Era, Syria became once more a bone of 
contention between successor-states. The harpies in this chapter of 
Syrian history were the Katama Berbers (masquerading as a ‘Fatimid’ 
Caliphate), the East Roman Empire, the Western Christian Crusaders, 
and an Ayyubid Power whose Cairene Mamluk successors succeeded, 
before the close of the thirteenth century, in reuniting the whole of 
Syria under their rule—to remain under it throughout the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries, until, in the sixteenth century, the Cairene 
Mamluks’ dominions were swallowed up, entire, in the vaster empire 
of the 'Osmanlis. The Ottoman regime in Syria lasted for four hundred 
years ( a . d . 1516-1918) —till the break-up of the Ottoman Empire’s 
Asiatic dominions as a result of the General War of a . d . 1914-18. 

This summary recapitulation of Syria’s political history brings out the 
fact that, over a span of four thousand years—from the twenty-first 
century b . c . to the twentieth century of the Christian Era—the usual 
political fate of Syria had been to find herself included in the dominions 
of some universal state. Even when one of these oecumenical empires 
embracing Syria had broken up, Syria’s destiny, as often as not, had 
been immediately to be annexed entire to some other empire of the kind 
—as she was taken over from the Neo-Babylonian Empire by the 
Achaemenian Empire, from the Roman Empire by the Arab Caliphate, 
and from the Egyptian Mamluk Power by the Ottoman Empire. Even 
at times when Syria had not been included as a whole within the frontiers 
of some single empire, her most frequent alternative fate had been to be 
partitioned between two empires embracing other regions besides their 
portions of Syrian territory. In the course of the last four thousand 
years, reckoning back from the twentieth century of the Christian Era, 
Syria had been partitioned in this way between an Egyptiac ‘Middle 
Empire’ and a Sumeric ‘Empire of the Four Quarters’; between an 
Egyptiac ‘New Empire’ and a Hittite Power with its political centre of 
gravity in East Central Anatolia; between an African Ptolemaic and an 
Asiatic Seleucid successor-state of the Achaemenian Empire; and be¬ 
tween an African ‘Fatimid’ Caliphate and an Anatolian East Roman 
Empire. 

The intervals during which Syria had been under the sovereignty of 



94 AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 

local Syrian states had been few and far between; indeed, there were no 
more than four historical instances of this political dispensation: during 
an interregnum between the evaporation of ‘the New Empire’ of Egypt 
in the twelfth century b.c. and the final onset of Assyria in the eighth 
century; 1 during the shorter period of relief from external pressure 
between the collapse of the Seleucid Power in the second century' B.c. and 
the Romans’ entry into the Seleucids’ heritage in the last century B.c. ; 2 
during the bout of anarchy which intervened between the collapse of 
the ‘Fatimid’ and East Roman Powers in the eleventh century of the 
Christian Era and the establishment of the Cairene Mamluk Power in the 
thirteenth century; and since the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire in 
South-West Asia in and after the General War of a.d. 1914-18. During 
each of these exceptional periods, Syria had been in the hands of a 
number of parochial sovereign states; yet, though these local principali¬ 
ties had been governed from Syrian capitals, their rulers had, for the 
most part, been recent arrivals from abroad—Philistines, Greeks, 
Crusaders, or Zionists from the European shores of the Mediterranean; 
Hebrews or Arabs from the North Arabian Steppe; and Kurds from the 
Zagros—and, under the rule of these intrusive muluk-at-tau&’if the 
political and cultural atmosphere in Syria had still been redolent of an 
oecumenical regime that had been the Syrians’ normal experience in 
most of the chapters in their history. 

The degree to which Syria’s political history had been dominated by 
her geographical location at a meeting-point of natural thoroughfares 
was the more impressive, considering that Syria’s physical structure was 
inimical to the imperialism to which Syria had usually been subject, 
while it was favourable to the Kleinstaaterei in which she had so seldom 
been free to indulge. Syria was not only bounded by ‘natural frontiers’ 
that demarcated her vis-a-vis the regions round about; she was also 
articulated internally, like Greece, into a multitude of small physically 
self-contained ‘pockets’ and ‘perches’, and a number of the ‘perches’— 
for instance, the Jabal 'Amil, the Lebanon, the Jabal Ansarlyah, the 
Jabal HawrSn and Mount Gerizim—had served as fastnesses for 
fossilized politico-religious communities: 3 Imam! Shi'Is, Maronite 
Monotheletcs, 'All-worshipping Nusayris, Hakim-worshipping Druses, 
and dissidentlyYahweh-worshipping Samaritans. If Syria’s geographical 
location had insulated her from the outer world, as Nature had insulated 
New Guinea, instead of exposing her, like the Oxus-Jaxartcs Basin, to 
the play of external influences and pressures from all quarters of the 
compass, her physiography, with its strongly pronounced internal 
articulation within clearly defined ‘natural frontiers’, would have im¬ 
posed on her, as her normal regime, a political decentralization which the 
political effects of her location had precluded on all but four occasions 
in her history during the last four thousand years. 

This Syrian pattern of political history recurs in the Oxus-Jaxartes 
Basin. Whether it was the Median or the Persian successor-state of the 

1 See IV. iv. 473 , n. 3. 

1 Tacitus’s remark on this point has been quoted in V. v. 390, n. 3. 

1 Sec I. i. 362; II. ii. 55-57; and V. v. 1x8 and 125, n. 1. 



BIRTHPLACES OF RELIGIONS 95 

Assyrian Empire that salvaged this borderland from a Scythian Nomad 
domination in the sixth century b.c., 1 the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin comes 
into the full light of history as part of the oecumenical empire of the 
Achaemenidae, 1 and it failed in an attempt to assert its independence 
when the Achaemenian regime was overthrown by Alexander the Great. 
A prowess acquired in holding the north-east frontier of the Syriac 
World against the Eurasian Nomads did not avail the Bactrian and 
Sogdian border barons in their gallant struggle against the Macedonian 
invader. After two campaigns they found themselves compelled to 
capitulate on terms; 3 and, after Alexander’s death, their country passed 
into the hands of the Achacmenids’ Seleucid successors. The political 
independence for which the native Iranian population had fought in 
330-328 b.c. was attained by the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin only some ninety 
years later, and, even then, it was not won by native hands and was not 
long-lived. 

In the third quarter of the third century B.c. the Greek garrisons in 
the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin—finding themselves cut off from the main 
body of the Seleucid Empire by the intrusion of the Nomad Parni from 
the Transcaspian Steppe into Parthia, on the north-eastern edge of the 
Iranian Plateau astride the Great North-East Road from Babylonia*— 
erected a Seleucid province into an independent local Greek principality 
of their own; 3 but, after two generations, these local Greek princes of 
Bactria deliberately remerged the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin in a vaster body 
politic by crossing the Hindu Kush circa 183 B.c. and annexing the 
north-western territories of the Mauryan Empire in India; 6 and, though 
the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin became a separate political entity again for a 
season when, less than half a century after the Bactrian Greeks’ conquest 
of North-Western India, their home territory on the north-west side of 
the Hindu Kush was overrun by Saka and Kushan Nomad invaders, 7 
the Kushans eventually followed the example of their Greek predecessors 
by crossing the Hindu Kush in their turn and annexing North-Western 
India to their Central Asian dominions in the course of the first century 
of the Christian Era. 8 This political reunion of the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin 
with the Indus and Ganges basins under a Kushan Raj was followed up, 
during the reign of the Kushan empire-builder Kanishka (regnabat circa 
a.d. 78-123), by the annexation of the Tarim Basin 9 —an eastward pro¬ 
longation of the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin which had been under the Sinic 
rule of the Prior Han Dynasty from 101 B.c. to a.d. 16, and had been 
reconquered by the Posterior Han between a.d. 73 and a.d. io2. 10 During 
the second century of the Christian Era the Tarim Basin seems to have 
been a debatable territory between the Kushan and the Posterior Han 
Power. 11 

As for the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin itself, it relapsed into local indepen- 

* Sec II. ii. 138. * See II. ii. 139. 

* See II. ii. 139-40. 4 For this road, see VI. vii. 200. 

> See II. ii. 143 and 371. The transition from province to principality seems to have 
been a gradual one (see Tam, W. W.: The Greeks in Bactria and India (Cambridge 
1938. University Press), pp. 72-74). 6 See I. i. 86 and II. ii. 371-a. 

7 See II. ii. i4r, n. 2, and 372, and V. v. 133, n. 1. 


96 'an expansion of the field of study 

dcncc after the decay of the Kushan Power in the third century of the 
Christian Era; but, after its Kushan masters had been submerged, at the 
turn of the fourth and fifth centuries, by an Ephthalite Ilun wave of 
Eurasian Nomad invaders, and the Ephthalites had succumbed, in the 
sixth century, to a following wave of Turks, 1 the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin 
was incorporated, once again, into a universal state through its annexa¬ 
tion, in the eighth century, to the Arab Caliphate; 2 and thereafter the 
set pattern of its political history continued to repeat itself. After passing 
through the hands of the SSmanid, Saljuq, Qara Qitay, and Kw 5 rizrni 
successors of the 'Abbasids, the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin was engulfed m the 
Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century of the Christian Era; 3 and, 
after the liberator, Timur Lenk, had been betrayed by a demonic 
militarism into a dispersal of his energies which last him his chance of 
making Transoxania the headquarters of a universal state embracing all 
the shores of the Eurasian Steppe, 4 the opportunity which Timur had 
failed to seize in the fourteenth century for Transoxania was successfully 
seized in the nineteenth century by a Muscovite Power which had pro¬ 
vided a disintegrating Russian offshoot of Orthodox Christendom with 
its universal state. 

At the time of writing, the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin formed part of the 
dominions of the Russian Empire’s successor the U.S.S.R., and the links 
of steel with which Soviet Central Asia had been bound to the Soviet 
territories on the opposite shores of the Eurasian Steppe by the con¬ 
struction of the Transcaspian, Orenburg-Tashkend, and ‘Turk-Sib’ 
railways 5 were constantly being reinforced through a progressive in¬ 
dustrialization of the Central Asian Soviet Republics on a plan designed 
to integrate them, economically as well as politically, with the rest of 
the Soviet Union. 

It will be seen that, since the sixth century b.c., the Oxus-Jaxartes 
Basin had been included successively in four full-blown universal states 
—the Achaemenian Empire, the Arab Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, 
and the Russian Empire—and in three other empires—the Selcucid, the 
Bactrian Greek, and the Kushan—which had performed the social and 
cultural functions of universal states, even if they did not qualify techni¬ 
cally for being given the title. The adjoining Tarim Basin, which pro¬ 
longed the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin towards the east, had been included 
successively in three universal states—the Han Empire, the Mongol 
Empire, and the Manchu Empire—as well as in the Kushan dominions. 
Syria had been included in no less than eight universal states—the 
Sumeric ‘Empire of the Four Quarters’, ‘the Middle Empire’ and ‘the 
New Empire’ of Egypt, the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Achaemenian 
Empire, the Roman Empire, the Arab Caliphate, and the Ottoman 
Empire—without counting in the Hyksos, Hittite, Assyrian, Seleucid, 
‘Fatimid’, East Roman, and Mamluk episodes in Syrian political history. 
This political record was so much evidence of encounters between a 

> See II. ii. 141, n. 2. 

2 See II. ii. 141 and 375-84- 1 See II. ii. 142. 

* See II. ii. 146-S and IV. iv. 491-501. . 

i The first two of these three railways had been built before the Revolution of a.d. 
, 9 , 7 - 


BIRTHPLACES OF RELIGIONS 97 

number of different civilizations on Syrian and Central Asian ground; 
and this exceptionally active intercourse between civilizations in these 
two areas explains the extraordinary concentration, within their limits, 
of birthplaces of higher religions. 


(Ill) A CLASSIFICATION OF TYPES OF 
CONTACT BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS 

On the strength of this testimony from the histories of Syria and the 
Oxus-Jaxartes Basin we may venture to propound a ‘law’ to the effect 
that, for a study of higher religions, the minimum intelligible field must 
be larger than the domain of any single civilization, since it must be a 
field in which two or more civilizations have encountered one another. 
Our next step will be to take a wider survey of those encounters that, in 
certain historic instances, have had the effect of bringing higher religions 
to birth; but, before embarking on this survey, we must define more 
closely the type of encounter with which we are immediately concerned. 

The encounters here in question are contacts in the Space-dimension 
between civilizations which, ex hypothesi, must be contemporaries in 
order to be able to meet one another face to face at some particular 
place on the Earth’s surface; but this contact in the Space-dimension 
between contemporaries is not the only form of contact between different 
civilizations that has come to our notice in this Study. We have also come 
across contacts in the medium, not of Space, but of Time. 

One kind of contact between civilizations in the Time-dimension is 
the relation between two civilizations of different generations which we 
have labelled ‘Apparentation-and-Affiliation’. 1 In this relation the two 
parties overlap with one another in the Time-dimension, as contem¬ 
porary civilizations overlap with one another in the Space-dimension 
when they meet on common geographical ground. After the body social 
of a disintegrating civilization has split up into a dominant minority and 
a proletariat, the embryo of a new civilization may be germinating in the 
womb of the Internal Proletariat while the Dominant Minority is still 
fighting a stubborn losing battle to keep the old civilization alive; and 
in this way two civilizations that are not of the same generation will 
overlap in Time—as contemporary civilizations with mutually exclusive 
geographical habitats will overlap in Space when part of the domain of 
one of them is annexed, whether by conquest or by peaceful penetration, 
to the domain of another. 

The relation of Apparentation-and-Affiliation is by definition, as will 
be evident, a relation in the Time-dimension which can only arise 
when each of the parties is in one particular phase of its history: the 
phase of disintegration in the apparented society’s case and, in the 
affiliated society’s, the phase of pre-natal gestation. In other words, this 
is a relation between two civilizations which, at the time when they are 
establishing it, are as remote from one another in terms of their respec¬ 
tive current stages of existence as any two civilizations can ever be. 

1 See I. i. 44. 


B 2SS8.vm 



93 AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 

There is, however, another kind of contact in the Time-dimension that 
an affiliated civilization can make, in after life, with a by now extinct 
civilization to which the living civilization is already related in virtue of 
an original contact made when the still living civilization was in embryo 
and the now dead civilization was in extremis. This original contact in the 
form of Apparcntation-and-Affiliation will have started the younger 
civilization in life with a stock of practices and ideas derived from the 
older civilization’s cultural heritage; and, on the strength of the memories 
of the older civilization which have thus become embedded in the 
younger civilization’s own cultural tradition, the younger civilization 
can evoke its elder’s ghost after the younger civilization has come to 
birth and the elder has passed out of existence. 

Such an encounter between a living civilization and the ghost of a dead 
predecessor is manifestly different in kind from the previous relation 
between the same living civilization when it was in the embryo stage 
and the same predecessor when it was still alive, though moribund. The 
difference may be compared with that between an adult Hamlet’s en¬ 
counter with his father’s ghost and an infant Hamlet’s relation with the 
same father in the flesh. The relation between the child and his living 
father has more life in it than the relation between the grown man and 
his dead father’s apparition; for in the earlier relation both parties are 
alive and there is therefore a reciprocal action of each on the other, 
whereas, in the encounter between man and ghost, the man alone is 
capable of being affected by the experience, since the apparition with 
which an adult Hamlet holds converse is not in truth another living 
personality, but is a ‘projection’ or ‘objectivization’ of feelings and 
ideas, latent in Hamlet's own psyche, that have been recalled by his 
own memory and clothed with life by his own imagination. Hamlet 
conversing with the ghost is like a ventriloquist in colloquy with his 
lay figure; a single party is actually playing simultaneously both the 
parts in what purports to be a dialogue between two actors. Yet, though 
in this sense the ‘renaissance’ of an extinct culture in the life of a living 
civilization is no more than the simulation of a genuine encounter 
between one living civilization and another, there is also a sense in 
which it can be a more intimate communion than the relation of 
Apparentation-and-Affiliation between one civilization that is already 
senile, though still alive, and another that, though already alive, is still 
in embryo. 

In the relation of Apparentation-and-Affiliation the extent of the 
difference in age between the two living parties severely limits their 
capacity for appreciating one another’s point of view and profiting by 
one another’s experience. There are many treasures of experience in a 
moribund civilization’s storehouse which an embryonic civilization finds 
valueless, because it finds them incomprehensible; but, if the prestige 
of the elder civilization in the younger civilization’s eyes avails to induce 
the younger to take up into its own tradition this apparently useless 
lumber from its elder’s cultural heritage, this act of blind faith may 
eventually earn its reward. ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I 
understood as a child, I thought as a child; but, when I became a man, 



TYPES OF CONTACT OF CIVILIZATIONS 99 

I put away childish things.’ 1 When the younger civilization has come of 
age in its turn, it will have become capable of understanding, by analogy 
from adult experience of its own, the adult experience of its now dead 
predecessor which was incomprehensible to it in a previous chapter of 
its history in which the elder civilization was still alive, but the younger 
was not yet grown to man’s estate. Though, no doubt, an experience of 
life can be imparted more vividly to a receptive recipient through living 
contact in the flesh with the subject of that experience than through a 
recollection derived at second hand from the subject’s literary remains 
at a date when their author is dead, the receptivity of the recipient is a 
condition sine qua non for the success of any experiment in the trans¬ 
mission of cultural treasure; and a recipient who has grown to be 
receptive will be capable of deriving more cultural benefit from a 
‘renaissance’ of the culture of a predecessor who is long since dead than 
the same recipient will have found himself able to derive, in his own 
uncomprehending infancy, from his elder when he was still present in 
the flesh. 2 

A point thus put in general terms is perhaps easier to apprehend in a 
concrete illustration taken from the history of the Western Civilization’s 
relations with Hellenism. In Western cultural history the generations 
that had understood Hellenism best, and had made the most of it for the 
benefit of their own Western Society, had not been those that had been 
contemporary with Hellenism in the last days of its life; they had been 
the later generations that had cast their eyes back to a long since dead 
Hellenic World across a span of time which the West had turned to 
account for accumulating an experience of its own, akin to the stored-up 
experience of its Hellenic predecessor. The possession of this adult 
yardstick had enabled an Erasmus to appreciate and appropriate the 
treasures of a Classical Greek and Latin literature that had been virtually 
a closed book to a Gregory of Tours—though the Western Christian 
chronicler had been the contemporary of a Latin poet Venantius 
Fortunatus who had been linked by a continuous chain of poetic tradition 
with the Virgilian Age. In the strength of the same ripe Western experi¬ 
ence a Gibbon was able to savour the Hellenic culture of the Antoninc 
Age with a surer taste and a keener zest than a Gregory the Great; 3 
though, in the generation in which this Pope had been nursing an infant 
Western Civilization through its first convulsions, 4 the City of Rome 
had still been living under the sovereignty of the same Roman Imperial 
Government that had once been directed by the enlightened mind of a 

« 1 Cor. xiii. it. 1 Sec further X. ix. 124-30. 

* 'Je nc d^teste pa* de glnlraliscr la notion de moderne ct dc donner cc nom & 
certain mode d’exiatencc, au lieu d’en fairc un pur synonyme dc conlemporain. 11 y a 
dans l'histoirc dcs moments ct dc* lieux oil nous pourrion* nous introduce, now 
modernts, sans troublcr cxcessivement l’harmonie de ces tcmps- 14 , et sans y paraitre 
dcs objets infiniment curieux, inhniment visibles, dcs itres choquants, dissonants, 
inassimilables. Oil notre entree ferait le moins dc sensation, lii nous jommes presque 
chez nous. I! est ciair que !a Rome de Trajan et que rAlexandrie dcs Ptolom^cs nous 
absorberaient plus facilcment que bien dcs localitds moins rcculdcs dans le temps, mais 
plus gplcialisces dans un seul type de maurs et entiirement consacrees a une aeule rice, 
a une scule culture et a un acul systime de vie’ (Valiry, Paul: ‘La Criac dc rEsorit’, in 
Variiti (Paris 1924, Gallimard, Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Franjaise), pp. 18-19). 

« See III. iii. 267-9. 



ioo AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 
Hadrian, a Pius, and a Marcus. For the same reason the fathers of the 
American and French revolutions were able to draw on political experi¬ 
ences of Republican Rome, of the Lycian and Achaean confederacies, 
and of Pcriclcan Athens, which had remained beyond the political 
horizon of a Dante or a Rienzi. 1 

The children of a growing Western Civilization had, in fact, met with 
the experience that awaits travellers setting out south-westwards from 
the spot where Caesarea Mazaca nestles at the foot of Mount Argaeus. 
In the early stages of their journey the wayfarers are still too close to the 
foothills, and too low down in the plain, to be able to see the mighty 
peak; and, in their eyes at this stage, the soaring volcano is fallaciously 
represented by the last and lowest waves of its petrified lava-flow. It is 
not till the caravan has made its passage of the salt-flats and has begun 
to climb the flank of the South Cappadocian Plateau that Argaeus begins 
to reveal his stature, in its majesty, to the travellers’ view. From that 
vantage point they see him, across the intervening hollows, in better 


1 This widening of a Western mental horizon in one direction had, of course, to be 
paid for by its contraction in another. The Early Modem Western Humanists' aesthetic 
appreciation of the Hellenic literature of the Peridean Age made them aliens in the 
intellectual realm of the Late Medieval Western Schoolmen in which their fathers had 
been freemen bom. The Late Modem Western rationalist orientation of Gibbon’s and 
Bury’s intellects inhibited their imaginations from entering into the feelings of souls 
bom into a post-Hellenic interregnum and an Early Medieval Western ‘Dark Age’ 
which these eminent Late Modem Western historians had, perhaps perversely, made it 
their life-work to Study and interpret. 

This eclipse of insight by rationalism is manifest in Bury’s dogmatic rejection of a 
contemporary account of the way in which the Emperor Hcraclius spent his time on 
the eve of a bold and perilous enterprise that was going to decide, not merely the 
Emperor’s fate, but the fates of the Empire and the Church as well. 

‘The winter before his departure fon his daring counter-offensive campaign of a.d. 
622] was spent by Hcraclius in retirement. He was probably engaged in studying strategy 
and geography and planning his first campaign. Those who look upon him as an inspired 
enthusiast would like to see in this retirement the imperative need of communion with his 
own soul and with God; they suppose that he was like John the Baptist, or that, like Jesus, 
he retired to a mountain to pray. To support this idea they can appeal to George of 
Pisidia, who, speaking of this retreat, says that the Emperor ‘‘imitated Elias of old", 
and uses many other expressions which may be interpreted in a similar manner. It is 
probable that Hcraclius was fain to possess his soul in silence for a few months; but it 
is hazardous to press the theological word-painting of a poetical ecclesiastic into the 
service of the theory that Heraclius was a semi-prophetic enthusiast with a naturally 
weak will. When George of Pisidia mentions in another place ( Hetacliad , Book II, II. 
120 and 136 seaq.) that the Emperor studied treatises on tactics and rehearsed plans of 
battle, we feel that we are on surer ground. The Strategikon of [the Emperor] Maurice, 
doubtless, was constantly in his hands’ (Bury, I. B.: A History 0/ the Later Roman 
Empire (London 1889, Macmillan), 2 vols., vol. ii, pp. 224-j). 

In this passage the Late Modem historian-rationalist lays himself open to the censure 
of a post-Modem historian-philosopher. 

'Historical inquiry reveals to the historian the powers of his own mind. Since all he 
can know historically is thoughts that he can re-think for himself, the fact of his coming 
to know them shows him that his mind is able (or, by the very effort of studying them, 
has become able) to think in these ways. And conversely, whenever he finds certain 
historical matters unintelligible, he has discovered a limitation of his own mind; he has 
discovered that there arc certain ways in which he is not, or no longer, or not yet, able 
to think. Certain historians, sometimes whole generations of historians, find in certain 
periods of history nothing intelligible, and call them 'dark ages’; but such phrases tell 
us nothing about those ages themselves, though they tell us a great deal about the per¬ 
sons who use them, namely that they arc unable to re-think the thoughts which were 
fundamental to their life, it has been said that die Weltgeschichle ist das Weltgerieht; 
and it is true, but in a sense not always recognized. It is the historian himself who stands 
at the bar of judgement, and there reveals his own mind in its strength and weakness, 
its virtues and its vices’ (Collingwood, R. G.: The Idea of History (Oxford 1946, Claren¬ 
don Press), pp. 218-19). 



TYPES OF CONTACT OF CIVILIZATIONS :ox 
perspective than was possible for them at the earlier stage in their 
journey when their road was actually traversing the mountains’ spurs 
and when the peak was therefore towering sheer above them—so close 
that it was still invisible. 

There is thus a clear distinction to be drawn between the relation of 
‘Apparentation-and-Affiliation’ and another form of contact in the 
Time-dimension between an adult living civilization and a dead 
civilization whose cultural legacy the living civilization appropriates for 
its own use and profit by the creative act of recollection that is known as 
a ‘renaissance’. The phenomenon of ‘Apparentation-and-Affiliation’ has 
been sufficiently examined already in our study of the disintegrations of 
civilizations and of the resulting universal states, universal churches, 
and heroic ages. 1 The phenomenon of a ‘renaissance’, in which an 
affiliated civilization evokes its predecessor’s ‘ghost’, requires further 
consideration, as it has been noticed here only incidentally so far. 
Accordingly our study, in the present Part, of encounters between con¬ 
temporaries will be followed in the next Part by a study of contacts in 
the Time-dimension in the particular form of 'renaissances’. 

Before we proceed with our present inquiry into encounters between 
contemporaries in the Space-dimension, we have, however, still to 
elucidate one point and to take note of another. 

The point to be elucidated is the relation of Archaism—one of the 
symptoms of the malady of schism in the Soul which we have examined 
in a previous Part of this Study 1 —to Apparentation-and-Affiliation on 
the one hand and to renaissances on the other. In terms of renaissances, 
Archaism might perhaps be described as being a kind of renaissance in 
which the commerce between the living and the dead is transacted, not 
between two different civilizations representing two different genera¬ 
tions of their species of society, but between two different phases in the 
history of one and the same civilization. 3 While Archaism thus has in 
common with renaissances the feature of being the evocation of a ghost, 
it differs from renaissances and resembles Apparentation-and-Affiliation 
in being a relation between parties whose respective experiences and 
outlooks are, not similar, but diverse. 

The other point that we have to consider before proceeding with the 
inquiry that is the subject of the present Part of this Study is a com¬ 
pound form of contact in which an encounter between two contempor¬ 
aries that arc, both of them, affiliated to the same dead predecessor 
leads to a renaissance, in the life of one of these two living civilizations, 
of an element in the dead civilization’s cultural legacy which has been 
preserved ‘in cold storage’ in the tradition of the other living civilization 
and has been imparted by this ‘carrier’ to her contemporary' and sister 

* See V-VIII of the present Study, patrim. 1 In V. vi. 49-97. 

1 In this aspect in which it appears to be a kind of renaissance. Archaism is the 
counterpart, in the field of relations in the Time-dimension, of those encounters between 
a 'fossil and the body social that has precipitated it, or between a creative minority 
and an uncreative rank-and-file, which, in the field of relations in the Space-dimension, 
may be described as being a kind of encounter between contemporaries in which the 
parties are representatives, not of two different contemporary civilizations, but of two 
different contemporary elements in the body social of one and the same society (see 
pp. 109-10, below). 



xo2 AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 
through their contact with one another in the Space-dimension. A 
classical example of this rather complicated concatenation of contacts in 
divers dimensions is the part played in the ‘renaissance’ of the Hellenic 
culture in the life of the Western Civilization in its Modern Age by the 
Western Civilization’s contact with the main body of the sister civiliza¬ 
tion of Orthodox Christendom. 

The importance of the Byzantine contribution to this Western 
achievement must not, it is true, be over-estimated; for the West’s own 
native tradition was fraught, like the Byzantine tradition, with the 
cultural heritage of a Hellenism which was the common cultural back- 

K und of both these affiliated civilizations; and, no doubt, the Western 
:iety, as it came to maturity, would have conjured a renaissance of 
Hellenism out of its own tradition in any event, even if it had never come 
into contact with its Byzantine sister. A Western renaissance of Hellen¬ 
ism from the native Western tradition was in fact already taking place 
on Western ground in Northern and Central Italy 1 —the precocious 
nursery-garden of the Western Civilization in its modern phase*— 
before the medieval encounter between the Western and Byzantine 
worlds took the cultural form of conveying a knowledge of the Classical 
Greek language, and the texts of works of Hellenic literature written in 
Greek, to Italy from Constantinople. This conveyance of intellectual 
treasure did not, indeed, take place till the fifteenth century of the 
Christian Era, when the encounter between the two sister civilizations 
was already four hundred years old and had produced such a bitter 
estrangement that the Byzantine peoples were by then already acquies¬ 
cing in an Ottoman domination over the main body of Orthodox Christen¬ 
dom as a less unpleasant fate than the Western domination which was the 
practical alternative then confronting all Orthodox Christians except the 
Russians. Thus the fifteenth-century intellectual commerce between 
Constantinople and Italy did not originate the Western renaissance of 
Hellenism. Yet, though it did not originate it, it did enrich it—and this 
to an extent that greatly heightened its potency. 

The sample of the Hellenic cultural heritage that had been carried in 
the native Western tradition was merely the jejune secondhand version 
of it in the Latin language; and, if the West had been able to draw only 
on these Grcckless cultural resources of its own, the Western renaissance 
of Hellenism would have been a revocation of the Magnus Annus without 
its quickening spring. The Western scholar-necromancers who were 

5 As has been pointed out in IV. iv. 27s, n. 2, it was no accident that this native West¬ 
ern renaissance of Hellenism occurred in a province of the Medieval Western Christian 
World that had previously forged ahead of the main body of Western Christendom by 
making successful responses to local challenges. 

* Sec I. i. 19. The cultural revolution in Transalpine Europe at the turn of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries of the Christian Era, which had come to be called ‘the Renais¬ 
sance’, had been, in reality, not an evocation of a ghost of the dead Hellenic culture, but 
a reception of a contemporary variation of the Western culture that had arisen in 
Northern Ttaly and that had by that time forged so far ahead of the contemporary 
Transalpine version of the same Western culture as to have become virtually a distinct 
civilization. This sixtccnth-ccntury reception of a contemporary Italian culture in the 
Transalpine provinces of the Western World had acquired its misnomer ‘renaissance’ 
because the Italian culture which was received at this time beyond the Alps had recently 
enriched itself through a local Italian renaissance of Hellenism—first in its Latin dress 
and thereafter in its original Greek embodiment (see IV. iv. 275, n. 1). 



TYPES OF CONTACT OF CIVILIZATIONS 103 
striving to evoke a ghost of Hellenism to inspire a Modern Western way 
of life would hardly have produced the profound effect that they did 
produce on Western history if the dingy changeling Latin dress in which 
Hellenism had re-emerged from a Western store-cupboard had not been 
supplemented by the authentic original garments of a dazzling Greek 
texture which the West acquired from Byzantium at the eleventh hour. 
The passive service which Byzantium thus performed for the West as 
the ‘carrier’ of a treasure which the West did not merely take over but 
succeeded in turning to profitable account had been estimated in the 
following terms by a Modern Western humanist man of letters: 

'The Byzantines had grave limitations for the work of traditio. But they 
had the wisdom and the humility to see what their duty was, and the 
constancy of mind to do it. They did preserve the old literature, though 
they could not understand its value. They believed it was beautiful even 
if they could not see the beauty. They believed it was full of wisdom and 
virtue and the search for truth and for some forgotten thing called free¬ 
dom. And, though they understood neither the drama, nor the poetry, 
nor the philosophy, nor even the history, they did at least copy letter by 
letter the great books, which were destined, when they met with readers 
capable of comprehending them, to bring about the rebirth of Civilization.’* 

If the Byzantine Greek scholars could have risen from the dead to read 
thi6 Western judgement on their work, no doubt they would have been 
both surprised and incensed at finding themselves commended as con¬ 
scientious players of the part of a servant who, in the Parable of the 
Talents, 1 is denounced by his master as ‘slothful’ and ‘wicked’. They 
would have pointed out that, even if the five talents originally entrusted 
to them to invest did eventually pass into the hands of an acquisitive 
Western fellow servant of theirs who had received a beggarly single 
talent as his own original allocation, the implication that they had 
allowed those five talents to lie idle while they were in their keeping was 
refuted by patent historical facts. How could the Byzantines be accused 
of having laid up their legacy from Hellenism in a napkin or of having 
hidden it in the earth, when the renaissances which they had actually 
conjured out of it were commemorated by such eloquent monuments? 
Did not the Byzantine ivory-carving of the eleventh and twelfth centur¬ 
ies of the Christian Era bear witness to a renaissance, at least in minia¬ 
ture, of an Hellenic art of sculpture in bas-relief? Was not the legislation 
of the Macedonian Dynasty inspired by a Justinianean Hellenic Corpus 
Iuris} And was not the establishment of the East Roman Empire by 
Leo Syrus the revival of a Constantinian Hellenic universal state ? In the 
light of these artistic, juristic, and political Byzantine achievements, 3 
was it fair to convict the Byzantines, on an exclusively literary test, of 
having failed to bring about a rebirth of Civilization ? 

But, even (our Byzantine apologists might have gone on to protest) 
if this Western indictment could have been proved against them, a 
culpable omission, on their own part, to turn the talents entrusted to 

' Murray, Gilbert: Greek Studies (Oxford 1946, University Pros), pp. 104-5. 

a Matt. xxv. 14-30; Lukexix. 12-26. . 

J A critique, from a Western standpoint, of these renaissances of Hellenism in 
Orthodox Christendom will be found in IV. iv. 363, n. 1. 



io 4 AN EXPANSION OF THE FIELD OF STUDY 
them to due account would not have automatically pilloried them in the 
role of serving as ‘carriers’ of these talents for eventual transfer to their 
Western neighbours. To have existed for the benefit of the West was not 
(the Byzantines would insist) the Orthodox Christian Civilization’s 
raison d'itre . 1 To minister to the West’s convenience was not an object 
that any good Byzantines had ever intended to work for; and, if it should 
turn out that Fate had played them the malicious trick of having set 
them to work for the West inadvertently, either by transmitting to the 
West the Byzantine legacy of Hellenism or by shielding the West against 
direct assaults on the Arab Caliphate’s part from the Caliphate’s South- 
West Asian base of operations, 2 this would be, for them, a cause of more 
acute chagrin than any other incident in their tragic history. 

To such Byzantine protests, however, a Westerner could make a 
maliciously telling retort by demurely putting on record his sincere 
testimonial to the benefits which the West had in fact received from the 
main body of Orthodox Christendom both as a military shield against 
the Arab Caliphate and as a cultural ‘carrier’ of Hellenism; and he could 
point out both that, in the appraisal of benefits, the beneficiary neces¬ 
sarily has the last word, and that the West's own estimate of the benefits 
that she had received from Byzantium would not be invalidated by a 
Byzantine affidavit that the benefaction had been inadvertent or even 
contrary to intent. It was a plain matter of historical fact that a 
Western World which had been endeavouring to profit by the single 
talent of Hellenic treasure that had been its own meagre trust fund had 
been suddenly and enormously enriched in the fifteenth century by a 
delivery from Byzantine into Western hands of the five talents that had 
been the original portion of the more generously endowed sister society. 
It was also (the Westerner would add) a matter of historical fact that 
the transfer had been justified in the event by the cultural productivity 
which the West had achieved after its cultural working capital had been 
thus augmented by this transfer of an unexpended balance in the 
Orthodox Christian Society’s cultural deposit account. 

Whatever the final verdict might be on this cultural controversy 
between Byzantium and the West, it was manifest that the episode out of 
which it had arisen had been a concatenation of contacts between three 
civilizations in two dimensions. An historical plot of this complicated 

S ttern is not likely to present itself frequently, yet the particular per- 
mance on which our attention has been fixed up to this point was not 
the only one known to History. The role of serving as a cultural ‘carrier’, 
which Byzantium had performed for the West in transmitting to her the 
legacy of Hellenism in its original Greek embodiment, had likewise 
been performed—through the transmission of comparable cultural 
treasures—by the Arabic Muslim Civilization for the Ottoman province 
of an Iranic Muslim World, and by the main body of the Far Eastern 
Society for an offshoot of the Far Eastern Civilization in Japan. 

When, in the course of the sixteenth century of the Christian Era, 

. 1 For this naively egocentric conventional Western view of the East Roman Empire’s 
historical role, see I. i. 156, with n. 1. 

J See I. i. 156, with n. 1, and II. ii. 367-8. 



TYPES OF CONTACT OF CIVILIZATIONS 105 

almost the whole of the Arabic World, with the one notable exception of 
Morocco, was progressively annexed by the 'Osmanlis, 1 the cultural 
effect was to transmit to the Ottoman province of the Iranic World, in 
the original classical Arabic form, 2 a legacy from a common Syriac past 
which this Iranic sister civilization had inherited in a Persian dress in 
its own native tradition. 3 It will be seen that this concatenation of cultural 
contacts between the Iranic Muslim, Arabic Muslim, and Syriac civiliza¬ 
tions is formally parallel to the contemporary interplay between the 
Western Christian, Orthodox Christian, and Hellenic civilizations, 
though these two outwardly similar cultural episodes not only took 
place in quite different political circumstances, but also produced sub¬ 
stantially different cultural effects, owing to a difference in relative 
degree of vitality between cultural treasures that were transmitted 
respectively by the Egyptians to the 'Osmanlis and by the Byzantines 
to the Italians. 4 The cultural treasure that the ‘Osmanlis received via 
Cairo from a dead Syriac culture’s Islamic last phase consisted mainly of 
desiccated classical Islamic theology; and a corresponding legacy of 
desiccated classical Confucian philosophy, from the treasure-house of a 
dead Sinic Society, was all the Sinic treasure that was obtained in the 
Tokugawa Age by a Japanese offshoot of the affiliated Far Eastern 
Civilization via the main body of the same Far Eastern Civilization in 
contemporary China. 

These three episodes are examples of a compound type of contact 
between civilizations which may be distinguished, as such, from other 
kinds; but we shall find it more convenient to deal with these episodes 
analytically, under the two heads of ‘encounters between contemporaries’ 
and ‘renaissances’, than to reserve them for separate study; and we may 
now embark on our survey of ‘encounters between contemporaries’ with¬ 
out further preliminaries. 

< See I. i. 348. Syria was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in a.d. 1516, and Egypt 
(carrying with it the HijSz) in A.D. 1517- Algeria was acquired in a.d. 1516-18 (see pp. 
220-1, below), ‘Iraq in a.d. 1534, and Tunisia (definitively) in A.D. 1574. The conquest 
of the Yaman was completed in a.d. 1570. Sec further X. a. 37-38. 

J See I. i. 395-6. 

» See I. i. 71. 

« See I. i. 396. 


B 289S.nii 


E2 



B. A SURVEY OF ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN 
CONTEMPORARY CIVILIZATIONS 

(I) A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 

I N selling out to make a survey of encounters between contemporary 
civilizations, we are confronted, as we were in attempting our original 
survey of the societies between whom these encounters take place, 1 with 
a formidably intricate maze of history; and now, as then, we shall be 
well advised to look, before plunging into the thicket, for a favourable 
point of entry. In our present enterprise this preliminary reconnaissance 
is perhaps even more necessary than we found it to be on the earlier 
occasion, since there is a considerably larger number of trees in the 
wood which we have now to explore. 

The number of civilizations that we originally located on our cultural 
map was only twenty-one; 2 and, even if the progress of archaeological 
discovery were to warrant us in regarding the Indus Culture as a separ¬ 
ate society from the Sumcric Civilization 1 and the Shang Culture as a 
civilization antecedent to the Sinic, this change in our reckoning would 
raise our total muster of civilizations only to twenty-three. 

These twenty-one or twenty-three civilizations fall into two groups— 
one originating in the Old World and the other in the New World— 
if we classify them by their birthplaces; and either of these geographical 
groups is distributed chronologically between more generations than 
one—the actual number of generations up to date being two in the New 
World and three in the Old World. In the earliest generation of the 
Old-World series there are in any case four societies—the Egyptiac, the 
Sumcric, the Minoan, and either the Sinic or else the Shang, if we 
assign the Sinic to the second generation, instead of the first, on the 
strength of the twentieth-century archaeologists’ achievement of dis¬ 
interring an antecedent Shang Culture—and the number rises to five 
if we are to regard the Indus Culture as a distinct society and not as a 
mere variety of the Sumcric Civilization. In the second generation of the 
same series there arc in any case five societies—the Hellenic, the Syriac, 
the Hittite, the Babylonic, and the Indie—and possibly six, if the Sinic 
Society is to be classified as being a civilization with a predecessor. In the 
third generation there are eight societies : 4 the Western, the main body of 
Orthodox Christendom, an offshoot of Orthodox Christendom in Russia, 
the Iranic Muslim, the Arabic Muslim, the Hindu, the main body of the 
Far Eastern Society in China, and an offshoot of the Far Eastern Society 
in Korea and Japan. In the New-World series there are two societies in 
the first generation—the Andean and the Mayan—and two in the second : 
the Yucatec and the Mexic. 

' See I. i. 51-129. . 1 See I. i. 133. 

1 Alternatively, the Indus Culture might be regarded as a mere ‘colonial’ variation 
on the Sumcric (sec I. i. 107-8). 

* A criticism of this count has been made by Prince Dmitri Obolensky (see pp. 669- 
70 and 671, below). 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 107 

Manifestly the possible number of geographical encounters between 
contemporary civilizations will have been restricted by the geographical 
segregation of the civilizations on our list into two groups and by the 
chronological segregation of the societies belonging to either geographi¬ 
cal group into different generations. Nevertheless, the total number of 
encounters between civilizations that have been one another’s contem¬ 
poraries is notably larger than the total number of civilizations of all 
generations in both geographical groups taken together. This at first 
sight perhaps surprising arithmetical fact is accounted for by several 
considerations. 

In the first place it is possible for contemporary civilizations to have 
more than one encounter with one another in the course of their histories, 
and this possibility had been actually fulfilled not infrequently. For 
example, the encounter between the Western, Orthodox Christian, and 
Islamic societies, which was such a prominent motif in current history at 
the time of writing, had been preceded by an encounter between the 
same three parties during the so-called 'medieval' phase of Western 
history; and this earlier encounter will prove to be a separate story 
(though we shall find, as might be expected, that the two stories have 
a connecting link). 

The number of encounters between contemporary civilizations had 
been further increased by chronological overlaps between the life-spans 
of Old-World civilizations belonging to different generations. The 
Egyptiac Civilization, for instance, was galvanized, as we have seen, by 
the successive impacts of Hyksos, 'Sea Peoples’, Assyrians, Persians, 
and Macedonians into going on living so long beyond its normal expecta¬ 
tion of life that it encountered as contemporaries, not only two civiliza¬ 
tions of its own generation—the Sumcric and the Minoan—but also 
four civilizations of the next generation: the Babylonic, Hittite, Syriac, 
and Hellenic. 

Again, the civilizations belonging to this second generation in the 
Old-World series did not all come to birth or all go into dissolution at 
exactly the same date. The Babylonic, Indie, and Hittite civilizations 
seemed to have emerged from a post-Sumeric interregnum in the 
fourteenth century b.c.; the Syriac and Hellenic civilizations emerged 
from a post-Minoan interregnum in the twelfth century b.c.; and the 
emergence of the Sinic Civilization might have to be dated as late as the 
ninth or the eighth century b.c. if it proved to have been preceded by a 
distinctively separate Shang Culture whose universal state had gone 
into dissolution in either the twelfth or the eleventh century b.c., accord¬ 
ing to our choice between two alternative traditional Sinic chronologies. 
The dates at which these six Old-World civilizations of the second 
generation went into dissolution were still farther removed from one 
another than the dates of their births. While the Hittite Civilization was 
overwhelmed as early as the twelfth millennium B.c. by the very 
Volkerwanderung that preceded the Hellenic and the Syriac Society’s 
emergence, the Babylonic Society did not go into dissolution till the 
first century of the Christian Era, the Sinic Society not till the second 
century of the same era, and the Hellenic Society not till the fourth 


io8 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
century. As for the Syriac and Indie societies, they lived on, like the 
Egyptiac, beyond their normal expectation of life, and this for the same 
reason. The course of their disintegration was interrupted by the impact 
of an alien society, and this interruption, in which the intruder was the 
Hellenic Society in both cases, prolonged the life of the Indie Society 
into the fifth century of the Christian Era and the life of the Syriac 
Society into the tenth century. 1 In consequence, the Syriac Society 
encountered as contemporaries not only one civilization of an older 
generation than its own—the Egyptiac—and other civilizations of its 
own generation—the Hellenic, Babylonic, and Indie—but also some of 
the civilizations of the succeeding generation—the Western Christian, the 
Orthodox Christian both in its main body and in its Russian offshoot, 
the Hindu, and the main body of the Far Eastern Society. 

Moreover, some of the debris of disintegrating civilizations of the 
second generation in the Old World had been preserved, as we have seen, 
in a ‘fossilized’ state. The oldest example was the fossil of the Hittite 
Civilization which had survived, after that society’s premature extinc¬ 
tion, astride the Taurus and Antitaurus mountain ranges in South- 
Eastern Anatolia and Northern Syria. These fossil remains of the 
Hittite Society were eventually absorbed into the bodies social of the 
Syriac and Hellenic societies, but other extinct civilizations had left 
fossils that were still extant at the time of writing. The Jews and Parsecs 
and the Nestorian, Monophysitc, and Monothelete Christians were 
fossils of the Syriac Civilization deposited in two strata representing two 
stages in an encounter between the Syriac Society and Hellenism in the 
course of the Syriac Society’s disintegration, while the Hinayanian 
Buddhists of Ceylon, Burma, Siam, and Cambodia and the ’lantric 
Mahayanian Buddhists of Tibet and Mongolia were similar fossils 
representing corresponding stages in the parallel history of an Indie 
Society whose disintegration had likewise been interrupted and re¬ 
tarded by an encounter with the same Hellenic intruder. 

These fossils had survived to encounter, as contemporaries, civiliza¬ 
tions that had not emerged until after the death of those civilizations by 
which the fossils themselves had been precipitated. The fossil of the 
Hittite Civilization, for instance, had lingered on to encounter the Syriac, 
Babylonic, and Hellenic civilizations; the Jewish relic of the Syriac Civili¬ 
zation had encountered the Arabic Muslim, Iranic Muslim, Orthodox 
Christian, and Western civilizations; the Parsecs had encountered the 
Hindu, Iranic Muslim, and Western civilizations; the Nestorians had 
encountered not only the same three civilizations as the Parsees, but 
the Arabic Muslim and Far Eastern civilizations and the Tantric 
Mahayanian fossil of the Indie Civilization as well; the Monophysites 
had encountered the Arabic Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Western, 
and Hindu civilizations; the Monotheletes, the Arabic Muslim, Orthodox 
Christian, and Western; the Hinayanian relics of the Indie Civilization 

« Reckoning the interregnum following the break-up of a restored Syriac universal 
state to have begun, in the domain of the Abbasid Caliphate, with the Fitimid Katama 
Berbers’ occupation of Egypt in a.d. 969, and, in the domain of the Andalusian umayyad 
Caliphate, with the break-up of the Umayyad realm into indigenous parochial successor- 
atates in the early years of the eleventh century of the Christian Era. 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 109 

had encountered the Hindu, Far Eastern, Western, and Arabic; the Tan- 
tric Mahayanian Buddhists had encountered the Hindu, Far Eastern, 
Western, and Iranic. 

This long list of multiple collisions and contacts does not tell the 
whole tale of encounters to which a ‘fossil’ had been one of the parties. 
In the histories of the Syriac and the Indie Civilization, for example, in 
which fossils had been deposited during the lifetime of the society in 
strata representing stages in an encounter between this society and an 
intrusive Hellenism, the divers fossil forms that the victimized society 
had assumed under the impact of an alien social force had in either case 
had subsequent encounters with a later form that the same society had 
assumed in the act of eventually ejecting the alien intruder. The Jewish 
and Parsee fossils and the Nestorian, Monophysitc, and Monothclete 
Christian fossils of the Syriac Society all encountered the Syriac Society 
itself in its last phase under the regime of an Islamic Caliphate that was 
a post-Hellenic resumption of the Achacmenian Empire. Similarly, the 
Hinayanian Buddhist and the Tantric Mahayanian Buddhist fossils of 
the Indie Society encountered the Indie Society itself in its correspond¬ 
ing last phase under the regime of a Hindu Guptan Empire that was a 
post-Hellenic resumption of the Empire of the Mauryas. 

In these two cases we see an encounter between contemporaries taking 
place within the bosom of a single society between different sub- 
societies into which this society has articulated itself, and this 'internal’ 
type of encounter is not represented solely by cases in which one of the 
parties to it is a fossil. In studying the growths of civilizations, we have 
found 1 that the regular social process through which a growing society 
advances from one stage in its growth to another is a compound move¬ 
ment in which a creative individual or minority first withdraws from 
the common life of the society, then works out, in seclusion, a solution 
for some problem with which the society as a whole is confronted, and 
finally re-enters into communion with the rest of the society in order to 
help it forward on its road by imparting to it the results of the creative 
work which the temporarily secluded individual or minority has accom¬ 
plished during the interval between withdrawal and return. Manifestly 
the impact of the returning creative individual or minority on the un- 
creative rank-and-file of the society within whose bosom the process of 
withdrawal-and-return occurs is another form of encounter between 
contemporaries in which the parties are all members of a single civiliza¬ 
tion. Cases in point, which have come to our attention already, 2 are the 
‘Ionization’ of the Hellenic Society, in the transition from a first to a 
second chapter of its growth, through the impact of a temporarily 
secluded Ionian creative minority on the rest of the Hellenic body social; 
the ‘Atticization’ of the same Hellenic Society, in the transition from the 
second to a third chapter of its growth, by the similar impact of a like¬ 
wise temporarily secluded Athenian creative minority; the ‘Italianiza- 
tion’ of the Western Society, in the transition from a second to a third 
chapter of its growth, by the impact of a temporarily secluded North 
Italian creative minority; and the ‘Anglicization’ of the same Western 
I In III. iii. 248-377- 2 !n M- “»• 33 ^- 63 - 



no ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Society, in the transition from the third to a fourth chapter of its growth, 
by the impact of a temporarily secluded English creative minority. 

Such encounters within the bosom of a single society are authentic 
instances of the phenomenon of contact between contemporaries, 
whether the internal articulation of the society which makes this type of 
encounter possible has been produced by the withdrawal of a creative 
individual or minority or by the precipitation of a fossil. We have also 
still to take note of a further set of encounters between contemporaries 
of the more usual kind, in which the parties to the encounters are 
different civilizations and not merely different representatives of a single 
civilization. 

The last factor that had multiplied the number of geographical en¬ 
counters between different contemporary societies had been the fusion 
of the New-World with the Old-World group as a result of the conquest 
of the Ocean by the Western Christian Civilization in the ‘modern’ 
chapter of its history (currebat circa a.d. 1475-1875). The impact of this 
Old-World society on the Mexic, Yucatec, and Andean societies across 
the Atlantic had been the first notable case, if not the first known case, of 
‘inter-hemispheric’ contact. 1 

This achievement of the Modern Western Civilization is an historical 
landmark; and it may give us a clue to finding our point of entry into the 
historical maze that we have undertaken to explore. 

When, in the course of the fifteenth century of the Christian Era, 
West European mariners mastered the technique of oceanic navigation, 
they thereby won a means of physical access to all the inhabited and 
habitable lands on the face of the planet; and their conquest of the 
Ocean had in fact resulted, by the time of writing, in the establishment 
of contact between a Western Society that had originated on the North 
Atlantic seaboard of the Old World and all other living societies—not 
excluding those primitive societies that, before Western explorers tracked 
them down, had been secluded in a virtual isolation in such natural 
fastnesses as the tropical forests in the heart of Africa, Borneo, and New 
Guinea, the jungle-clad mountains in the borderland between India, 
China, and Tibet, and the uninviting extremities of Asia and South 
America: an Arctic North-Eastern Siberia and an Antarctic Tierra del 
Fucgo. 2 In the lives of all these other living societies the impact of the 
West had come to be the paramount social force and ‘the Western 
Question’ had come to be the fateful issue. As the Western pressure on 
them had increased—and, so far, it had been increasing in a geometrical 
progression of growing severity—their lives had been turned upside 
down; and it was not only the frail social fabric of the surviving primi- 

1 The possibility that, in a pre-Columbian Age, the Plains Indian* of North America 
had already borrowed the composite bow from an Old-World Eurasian Nomad Society 
is noticed on p. 638, below. 

2 These holes and comers in the Oihoument —which had afforded an asylum for a 
rearguard of primitive Mankind because their inaccessibility or unattractiveness had 
exempted them from invasion by any of the civilizations before the literally world-wide 
expansion of a Modern Western representative of this aggressive parvenue species of 
human society—had also served as preserves for religious practices and beliefs which 
might perhaps prove to be relics of a purer, as well as older, religion than the idolatry 
to which Man in Process of Civilization had succumbed before the eventual epiphany of 
the historic higher religions (sec VII. vii. 739-68). 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS in 

tive societies that had been pulverized; the living non-Western civiliza¬ 
tions had been convulsed, and even the petrified fossils of a previous 
generation of civilizations had been corroded, by this literally world¬ 
wide revolution of Western origin. The Western Society alone had 
appeared at first to remain unaffected, in its own life, by the havoc that 
it was thus making of the rest of the World; but, within the lifetime of 
the writer of this Study, one of the encounters between the West and its 
contemporaries had come to darken the horizon of the Western Society 
itself. 

The dominating role in Western affairs that had thus come to be 
played by a collision between the West and a foreign body social was 
a novel feature in recent Western history; and the date at which this 
new situation had arisen could be established with some precision by a 
reading of the index of power politics. From the failure of the second 
Ottoman assault on Vienna in a . d . 1683 to the defeat of Germany in the 
General War of a . d . 1939-45, the West as a whole had been so over¬ 
whelmingly superior in power to the rest of the World in the aggregate 1 
that the fluctuations in a balance of power between Great Powers that 
were all either Western or Westernized in their culture had been the 
most important military, political, and economic phenomena in the 
World during that quarter of a millennium. 3 Throughout that period 
the Western Powers virtually had nobody to reckon with outside their 
own circle, and, on the material plane, the destiny of all Mankind outside 
that circle was therefore determined, in that age, by the course of the 
mutual relations between those Western Powers. This Western mono¬ 
poly of power in the World came to an end, however, when, after the 
war of a . d . 1939-45, Germany's bid for world domination, which had 
been the previous Leitmotiv in the play of power politics, gave place to 
the new Leitmotiv of a competition for the same prize between the 
United States and the Soviet Union. In itself, of course, this reversal of 
the relation between the two principal victors in a war in which their 
principal adversary had suffered a crushing defeat was an incident in the 
play of political dynamics that, so far from being unusual, might have 
been predicted as almost inevitable in the light of past precedents. A 
drastic change in the balance was always apt to be reflected in a corres¬ 
pondingly drastic change in the constellation of political forces. If, how¬ 
ever, we go beyond this rather superficial consideration of the formal 
dynamics of the Balance of Power to take account of the characters of 

> Sec III. iii. 200. 

1 In I. i. 33-34 it ha* been pointed out that, in this age, the Western Society had 
become so sure of its own predominance in the World that it had cessed to have any 
collective name of its own in its own vocabulary. The West now no longer felt a need 
to distinguish itself by a proper name from other societies which it no longer regarded 
as its equals. When all the members of all the living non-Wcstem societies were con¬ 
founded together in Western minds under the negative label ‘Natives', the correlative 
term on Western lips could only be 'civilized people*—with the implication that there 
could be no such thing as Civilization in any non-Westem way of life. This Modem 
Western identification of Civilization with Western Civilization was a secularized ver¬ 
sion of the Primitive Western Christian proposition: 'Nemini salus ... nisi in Ecclesifl' 
(Cyprianus, Th. C.: Ep. iv, chap. 4. Cp. beCatholicaeBccUtiaeUnitale. chap. 6: ‘Habere 
non potest Deum patrem qui Ecclesiam non habet matrem.'—‘ “Salus”, inquit 
[Cyprianus),"extra Ecclesiam non cst" ’—Saint Augustine: DcDaptimo contra Donatiitas, 
Book IV, chap, xvii (39)). 


Hz ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
the dramatis personae, we shall see that, in one vital point, the re- 
alinement of political forces in and after a.d. 1945 was different in kind 
from any previous alinement since the Ottoman Empire’s fall out of the 
race for world power in a.d. 1683. After 1945, for the first time since 
1683 in the histories of the West and of the World, one of the protagon¬ 
ists in power politics was once again a Power of a non-Wcstern com¬ 
plexion. 

There was, it is true, an ambiguity, that has come to our notice in 
previous contexts, 1 in the relation of both the Soviet Union and the 
Communist ideology to the Western Civilization. 

The Soviet Union was the political heir of a Petrine Russian Empire 
which had become a voluntary convert to the Western way of life at the 
turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and had participated 
thereafter in the Western game of power politics as a proselyte admitted 
on a tacit understanding that he would abide by the accepted Western 
rules. Communism, again, was in origin, like Liberalism 2 and Fascism, 
one of the secular ideologies that had arisen in the Modern West as sub¬ 
stitutes for a Christianity which the West had, in effect, discarded. And 
thus, from one point of view, the competition which, since a . d . 1945, 
had arisen between the Soviet Union and the United States for hege¬ 
mony in the World, and between Communism and Liberalism for the 
ideological allegiance of Mankind, might still be regarded as a domestic 
issue within the household of a Western Society that had opened its 
doors to admit a Russian apostate from the civilization of Orthodox 
Christendom to become an adopted member of the Western family. 

From another point of view, however, the Soviet Union could be 
looked upon, like its Petrine predecessor, as a Russian Orthodox 
Christian universal state clinging to life in a Western dress which it had 
been led to adopt, not by any positive desire to change its cultural 
allegiance, but by its very will to go on living a distinctive life of its own 
in an OikoumenS whose cultural climate had latterly become so bleakly 
Westernized that life on Earth was now no longer possible without some 
measure of adaptation to Western ways. From the same angle of vision, 
Communism could be looked upon as an ideological substitute, not for 
Western, but for Orthodox, Christianity, in ex-Orthodox Christian 
hearts that had become so far Westernized that they had ceased to find 
their ancestral religion tenable without having lost the traditional Russian 
repugnance towards accepting any faith that was held orthodox in the 
West. On this interpretation the failure of Liberalism, in the long run, to 
win the Russians’ allegiance would be accounted for by its being branded 
as a secular Modem Western Society’s orthodox ideology, 3 while the 
victory of Communism in Russia would be accounted for by its being 
signalized as a secular Modern Western creed which was a revolutionary 

* Sec III. iii. 200-2 and 563-5. 

3 Using: rhe term, not in the narrower sense in which, in the nineteenth-century party 
politics of the United KinRdom, it had stood for the opposite of'Conservatism’, but in 
the wider meaning of the Modem Western way of life which was called 'Capitalism' 
by its critics and ‘Free Enterorise’ by its advocates. 

3 From the standpoint of Christianity, of course, Liberalism, as well as Communism 
and Fascism, was a heresy. 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 113 

critique of the orthodox secular Modern Western way of life and was 
therefore an abominable heresy in orthodox secular Modern Western 
eyes. On this showing, Communism would be an ideally convenient and 
attractive faith for Russians whose only recourse was to fight the Modern 
West with its own weapons in a conflict between contending civilizations 
in which the Russians were still determined not to lay down their arms, 
but in which none but Modern Western weapons were any longer of 
any avail. 

At the time of writing, each of these two alternative interpretations of 
the spirit of Soviet Communism and the role of the Soviet Union 
manifestly expressed some measure of the truth, and at the same time it 
was still impossible to forecast whether the Westernizing or the anti- 
Western tendency would ultimately prevail in Russian life. Short of that, 
however, it was unquestionable that a sharp re-accentuation of the anti- 
Western tendency in Russian feeling and thought had been one conse¬ 
quence of the Russian Communist Revolution of a . d . 1917, and that, in 
view of the potency of this phobia in the Russian Communist £thos, the 
emergence of the Soviet Union from the General War of a . d . 1939-45 
as one of two rival World Powers had reintroduced a cultural conflict 
into a political arena which, for some 250 years past, had been reserved 
for domestic political quarrels between Powers that had, all alike, been 
of one Modern Western cultural complexion. 

At the time of writing, this duel on the political plane between the 
Soviet Union and the United States and on the cultural plane between 
Communism and Liberalism was beclouding the whole social horizon 
of the living generation of Mankind. Yet this concentration of the 
World’s attention and apprehension on this particular encounter be¬ 
tween two contemporary civilizations was in no sense presumptive 
evidence that the Russo-Western conflict would continue to occupy the 
whole field. In re-engaging in their struggle against Westernization 
after having apparently long since given up the battle for lost, the 
Russians were setting an example which had already been followed by 
the Chinese and which might well be followed, in time, by the Japanese, 
Hindus, and Muslims, and even by societies that had become so deeply 
dyed with a Western colour as the main body of Orthodox Christendom 
in South-Eastern Europe and the three submerged pre-Columbian 
civilizations in the New World. The reopening of the particular issue 
between the West and Russia had, in fact, incidentally reopened the 
general issue between the West and the non-Western majority of Man¬ 
kind. 

These considerations suggest that a scrutiny of the encounters be¬ 
tween the Modem West and the other living civilizations might prove a 
convenient point of departure for embarking on a survey of the whole 
field of encounters between contemporaries. The next set of encounters 
that would present itself for examination on this plan of operations would 
be the encounters of the non-Western living civilizations with one another. 
And, when we had thus completed our review of encounters between all 
civilizations still alive, the obvious next step—if our plan had justified 
itself by its results so far—would be to single out, among civilizations 


1 X 4 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
now extinct, those which, at some stage in their history, had made on 
their neighbours an impact comparable to the West’s impact on its corn- 
temporaries—even though, in these earlier cases, the action might not 
have been literally world-wide. On these lines we might find ourselves 
able to work our way into the heart of the thicket, break up the tangled 
terrain into manageable tracts, and piece together a general map of the 
landscape by surveying each tract in turn—without committing ourselves 
to examining every single encounter between contemporary civilizations 
that had found its way into our inventor)'. 1 

If we follow this plan by starting operations with the set of encounters 
to which the Modern Western Society had been a party, there is, how¬ 
ever, still one preliminary point to be settled. We have still to determine 
the date at which the ‘modern’ chapter of Western history begins. 

Non-Western observers would date its beginning from the moment 
when the first Western ships made a landfall on their coasts; for, in 
non-Westcrn eyes, Homo Occidentals, like Life itself according to one 
Modem Western scientific hypothesis, 3 was a creature of marine origin. 
Far Eastern scholars, for example, when they set eyes on their first 
specimens of Western humanity in the Age of the Ming, labelled the 
new arrivals ‘South Sea Barbarians’ on the evidence of their immediate 
geographical provenance and their apparent level of culture. In this and 
other encounters the ubiquitous Modem Western mariners went through 
a series of rapid metamorphoses in their human victims’ bewildered eyes. 
At their first landing, they looked like harmless marine animalculae of a 
previously unknown breed; soon they revealed themselves, by their 
aggressive behaviour, to be savage sea-monsters; and finally they proved 
to be predatory amphibians who, unhappily for Mankind, were as 
mobile on dry land as in their own clement. This marine epiphany of a 
Protean carnivore marks the beginning of the Modern Age of Western 
history from a non-Western point of view; and this chronological 
reckoning in the objective terms of the Modem West’s impact on the rest 
of the World tallies closely with the Modern West’s own dating of its 
genesis in the subjective terms of a psychological break, in Modern 
Western souls, with the Modem West’s own past. 

From the Modem West’s own point of view, its modernity had begun 
at the moment when Western Man had thanked, not God, but himself 
that he was as different a being from his ‘medieval’ predecessor as the 
Pharisee claimed to be from the publican in the parable. 3 The cultural 
Pharisaism of the Modern Western peoples on the Atlantic seaboard of 
Europe dated, like their technological conquest of the Ocean, from the 
turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of the Christian Era, and we 
can name the objective revolutionary event which had brought about 
this subjective revolution in an ocean-faring Western Man’s mind. The 
Western peoples on the Atlantic seaboard of Europe who, in the sixteenth 
century, launched out on the face of the deep and made their way as far 

1 For example, the encounters, enumerated on pp. 108-9, above, in which one of the 
parties had been a ‘fossil', arc not all examined in IX b (ii), below. 

J This hypothesis was, of course, a version, couched in a Modem Western scientific 
idiom, of the Hellenic myth of the genesis of the goddess of procreation, Aphrodite, from 
the foam of the sea. J Luke xviii. 11. 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS u 5 

and wide as its waters could carry them took the same contemptuous 
view of their own fifteenth-century ancestors as the fifteenth-century 
Italians had taken of these Transalpine and Transmediterranean Western 
contemporaries of theirs when they had stigmatized them as ‘barbarians’ ; l 
and the sixteenth-century Spaniards, Portuguese, French, English, and 
Dutch had in fact taken over this point of view from its Italian origina¬ 
tors. They had taken it over as part of their reception of a local Italian 
form of the Western culture that had differentiated itself during the later 
Middle Ages. 2 It was in virtue of this Italianization that these sixteenth- 
century Westerners beyond the bounds of Italy had become conscious 
of a breach of cultural continuity between themselves and their own 
immediate local predecessors, and this conversion of the non-Italian 
Western peoples to the Italians’ way of life had likewise occurred at the 
turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 3 

Our criteria thus agree in supporting the traditional dating of the emer¬ 
gence of the Modern Western World in the last quarter of the fifteenth 
century. 4 The Italianization of a ‘barbarian’ majority of the Western 
Society, the converts' repudiation of their pre-Italianate past, and 
the conquest of the Ocean by the Italianized Western peoples on the 
Atlantic seaboard of Europe all occurred in this generation. On this 
showing, we need not hesitate to accept this date as marking the 
emergence of a Modern Western Society that had proceeded to make an 

1 See III. iii. 299-310. 

2 On pp. 109-10, above, we have already noticed that this impact of Northern Italy on 

the rest of Western Christendom at the transition from the ’medieval’ to the ‘modem’ 
age of Western history is an instance of the ‘internal’ type of encounter within the bosom 
of a single civilization. J See V. vi. 340-1. 

* On the subjective criterion of feeling, the Italians, of course, had been ‘modern’ 
since at least the thirteenth century, and the Flemings since at least the fourteenth; but, 
for rite purpose of the present enterprise of making a survey of encounters between 
civilizations that have been one another’s contemporaries, it would be a mistake to 
include the Italians’ encounters with their non-Westem neighbours among the Modern 
West’s encounters on the strength of this subjective criterion alone. In the expansion 
of the Modern West over the face of the whole World since the last quarter of the fif¬ 
teenth century of the Christian Era, Italy had plaved little part beyond Genoa’s some¬ 
what passive role as the birthplace of Columbus. While the Western peoples along the 
European seaboard of the Atlantic were opening up new worlds across the Ocean, the 
Italians were content to remain landlocked within the shores of the Mediterranean and, 
within these relatively narrow maritime confines, to play out the last rounds of a game 
which had already become a losing one by the time when, at the turn of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries, the West European peoples had snatched victory for the West 
out of defeat in her relations with her neighbours by turning their backs on a familiar 
Mediterranean and committing themselves to a previously untamed Atlantic. At this 
turning-point in Western history the Atlantic Western peoples were moved to abandon 
the Mediterranean, and the Italians to cling to it, not merely by the divergent influences 
of their respective geographical locations, but also—and this perhaps more imperatively 
—by the historical fact that, in the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the 
Italians—thanks precisely to their precocious achievement of modernity in this last 

I ihase of she ‘medieval’ chapter of Western history—had succeeded in entering into the 
ibours of their Transalpine and Tranrmediterrancan fellow Western Christians— 
Catalans, Aragonese, Navarrese, Castilians, Normans, French, English, Germans— 
whose partners they had been in the aggressive expansion of a Medieval Western 
Christendom across the Mediterranean at the expense of the East Roman Empire and 
the successor-states of the ‘Abbasid and Andalusian Umayyad caliphates. Details of this 
transformation of Crusader principalities into Venetian, Genoese, and Florentine 
colonial empires will be found in III. iii. 347, n. 1. This Italian epilogue to the history 
of the medieval encounter between the Western, Syriac, and Orthodox Christian socie¬ 
ties dragged on till as late as a.d. 1797, when the termination of Venetian rule over the 
Ionian Islands liquidated the last remnant of the last Italian colonial empire in the 
Levant. 


1x6 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
impact on all the rest of Mankind. In the light of this chronological 
conclusion, however, we may prognosticate that, however well this 
literally world-wide impact of the West may serve our turn as a ‘bull¬ 
dozer’ for forcing an entry into the historical jungle of intertwined 
cultural entanglements which we have set ourselves to explore, it will 
be of less avail for our purpose when we pass on from this preliminary 
survey of the facts to our ulterior enterprises of attempting to analyse, 
first the plot of the play, 1 and then the process of psychological action 
and reaction in the relations between the actors. 1 

In these two inquiries, Time is of the essence of the problem, since 
the psychological reverberations of collisions between contemporary 
societies do not produce their ultimate social effects until they have 
travelled down below the upper surface of the Psyche—over which the 
conscious Will and Intellect skate as swiftly as water-spiders on the 
surface of an unfathomable tarn—and have stirred the obstinately slow- 
moving depths of the underlying abyss of the Subconscious. However 
quickly the conscious clement in the psyche of a human being whose 
social environment has been disturbed by the impact of alien cultural 
influences may succeed in adjusting its thought and action to the new 
social predicament that the impact has produced, this superficial re¬ 
orientation is not effective in itself, since the Intellect alone moves 
nothing, 3 while the Will is only effective to the degree in which it 
succeeds in inducing the Subconscious Reservoir of the Psyche to lend 
itself to the Will’s aim by suffering the Will to draw upon this amor¬ 
phous yet exclusive source of psychic energy and to put it to work by 
canalizing it into a deliberate effort to attain some definite objective. 
The pace at which the subconscious element in the Psyche habitually 
moves is thus not merely the limiting, but the governing, factor in the 
determination of the time that an encounter between two contemporary 
civilizations will take, from first to last, to work itself out; and the usual 
Time-scale of the workings of the Subconscious in this province of the 
realm of social life had been of a much higher order of magnitude than 
the 450 years which, at the time of writing, was the utmost length of time 
during which the impact of the Modern West had so far been making 
itself felt in the life of any of its contemporaries. 

The relative shortness of a span of not more than four and a half cen¬ 
turies in this particular social and psychological context becomes mani¬ 
fest as soon as we turn our attention from the set of encounters in which 
a living Modern Western Society had been engaged with other living 
societies to encounters in which a living historian could feel confident 
that he was in a position to know the whole story because the parties to 
these encounters were none of them any longer alive. 

If we measure off the history of the impact of the Modern West on 
its contemporaries, down to the time of writing, against the history of 
the impact of the Hellenic Civilization, in the corresponding chapter of 
its history, on the Hittite, Syriac, Egyptiac, Babylonic, Indie, and Sinic 

' In Part IX C, below. . J In Part IX D. below. 

* Jiafna S’ aM) ovO(v KiveT. —Aristotle: Ethica Nicomaehea, Z, 2 (p. 1139 a), 
quoted in III. iii. 231, n. 1. 



ii7 


A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 
societies, and if, for purposes of this chronological comparison, we 
equate, as we reasonably may, 1 Alexander’s crossing of the Hellespont 
in 334 b.c. with Columbus’s crossing of the Atlantic in a.d. 1492, the 
four and a half centuries that bring us down to the year a.d. 1952 in the 
Modern Western record will bring us, in the equivalent ‘Modern 
Hellenic’ record, to the year a.d. 126; and this date is only a few years 
later than the probable date of the correspondence on the question of 
policy towards the Christians which passed between the Younger Pliny 
and the Emperor Trajan when Pliny was serving as the Emperor’s 
special high commissioner in the Roman imperial province of Bithynia 
and Pontus. 

In a Hellenizing World early in the second century of the Christian 
Era the Christian Church loomed no larger, in the sight of an Hcllenically 
educated dominant minority, than the Baha’i and Ahmadi sects 2 were 
figuring in the sight of the corresponding class in a Westernizing World 
mid-way through the twentieth century. In a generation in which the 
supremacy of a sceptical philosophy was ‘palpable and audible’ on the 
intellectual surface of Hellenic life, what rational Hellene could have 
divined that, in a subconscious psychic abyss below the seemingly well- 
founded basis of his own philosophical Weltanschauung, a ‘determina¬ 
tion’ was 'slowly maturing’ in the hearts of the people of his world 'to 
put themselves under the authority of a new dogma’,* and that this slow 
long-term spiritual tendency was moving, with a current as powerful as 
it was imperceptible, towards a triumph of Christianity over Hellenism 
within two hundred years of Pliny’s and Trajan’s day? This historical 
parallel—and it is a legitimate one—indicates how utterly the future 
might be hidden in a.d. 1952 from the mental vision of a Western 
student of the impact of the West on the World who happened to have 
been born only four hundred years after the beginning of this set of 
encounters between living civilizations. 

Moreover, our parallel between a Modern Western and an analogous 
Hellenic impact on a contemporary world gives us the further indication 
that, in reckoning the Modern Western impact to have been at work 
for some four hundred and fifty years down to the time of writing, we 
have been operating with a figure that represents a maximum and is 
considerably higher than the average. 

It w r as only in the impact of Western Christendom on the indigenous 
civilizations of the New World that the equivalent of Alexander’s con¬ 
quest of the Achaemenian Empire had occurred at a corresponding date 
in the Time-chart of Western history. The Spaniards’ conquest of 


1 The parallel holds good in subjective, as well as in objective, terms. Objectively, 
Alexander’s march from the Hellespont to the Hydaspes ia comparable in scale with 
da Gama's voyage from Lisbon to India and with Columbus's from Palo* to the New World: 
subjectively, the post-Alexandrine Hellene* took the reception of an Attic version of 
Hellenism in Macedonia, and the Atticizcd Macedonians’ conquest of the Achaemenian 
Empire, a* marking the beginning of a new era in Hellenic history as definitely as the 
Western peoples of the Atlantic seaboard of Europe felt their own Modem Age to be 
marked off from its ‘medieval’ predecessor by their reception of Italian culture and their 
conquest of the Ocean (see V. vi. 339 and 342, and VI. vii. 299-300). 

J Sec V. v. 174-6. 

1 Bevan, Edwyn Robert: Stoics and Sceptics (Oxford 1913, Clarendon Press), pp. 
140-1, quoted in V. V. 558. 



1x8 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Mexico and the rest of Central America in and after a.d. 1521, and of the 
Inca Empire and the rest of the Andean World in and after a.d. 1533, 
had corresponded in its date, as well as in the crude violence of its 
physical force and the shattering subversivcncss of its psychological 
effect, to the conquest of the Egyptiac, Syriac, and Babylonic worlds by 
Alexander’s Macedonians. In the World as a whole, however, the mari¬ 
time expansion of the Modem West had had to pay for its ubiquity by 
being slower in taking political and cultural effect than the overland 
expansion of a post-Alexandrine Hellenism. While the comparatively 
fragile civilizations of the New World had been overwhelmed at the first 
onset of the militant landing-parties from ocean-going Spanish ships, 
not one single province of one single non-Westcm civilization in the 
Old World had been conquered, more Alexandrino, by Western force of 
arms before the campaigns (gerebantur a.d. 1757-60) which had resulted 
in the British East India Company’s acquiring a virtual sovereignty over 
Bengal and Bihar, and it had not been till the launching of a British 
offensive against the MarSthas on all Indian fronts in a.d. 1803 that any 
Modem Western empire-builders on non-Western ground cast of the 
Atlantic had made lightning conquests on the scale of Alexander of 
Maccdon’s sweep from the Hellespont to the Caspian Gates in 334-330 
b.c. or Demetrius of Bactria’s sweep over Northern India in 183 B.c. 

Furthermore, when we pass on from the spectacle of the forcible 
imposition of an alien civilization through acts of military conquest to 
consider the voluntary reception of it through a process of cultural con¬ 
version, we find that, in this field, the duration of the process down to 
the year a . d . 1952 had been, in the Old World, not 450 years, but some 
250 at the longest. 

The attempts of Western intruders in the Early Modern Age of 
Western history to propagate an integrally Christian Western culture 
in partibus Orientis had, in the end, all been signally defeated, after 
apparently promising starts, by outbursts of xenophobia in the mission 
fields that had been as decisive as they had been vehement. The Japanese 
had put an end to a Western Christian cultural penetration between 
a.d. 1614 and a.d. 163s; 1 the contemporary Abyssinians had taken 
parallel action in the fourth decade of the seventeenth century; 2 the 
Chinese had taken it at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries. 3 It had not been till the last quarter of the seventeenth century 
that the West had begun to make peaceful cultural conquests that, by 
a.d. 1952, had proved themselves more durable, at least, than the 
sixteenth-century fiascos, unwarrantable though it would still have been 
to assume that they were to prove permanent. 

The version of the Modern Western culture that had thus at last 
begun to make headway in the Old World, some two hundred years after 
the Western conquest of the Ocean, was not the full-blooded Western 
Christian Civilization which the Abyssinians, Japanese, and Chinese had 
rejected after making trial of it; it was a secular abstract from it, 4 

1 See II. ii. 366, n. 2; V. v. 365; and pp. 316-24, below. 

1 See II. ii. 366. J Sec V. v. 365-7, and pp. 3*6-24, below. 

4 As the present writer sees it, an elimination of Religion, not an introduction of 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 


”9 


strained off in a cynically negative spirit by a late-scvcntccnth-century 
generation of Westerners who had become alienated from Christianity 
itself in their revulsion from Wars of Religion which, in the domestic life 
of Western Christendom for 150 years past, had been running an ever 
more devastating yet never any more conclusive course; 1 and, since an 
exotic potion is the less hard to swallow, the thinner and more tasteless 
the brew, 2 it is no surprise—and also assuredly no accident—that the 
generation which witnessed this spiritual revolution in the bosom of the 
Western World should also have witnessed a revulsion in the feelings of 
Orthodox Christian peoples towards the Western culture. 

In the fifteenth century, Orthodox Christians had acquiesced in the 
political domination of the Muslim 'Osmanlis as a less odious alternative 
than a reception of the Western Christian way of life in the then current 
religious terms of acknowledging the ecclesiastical supremacy of the 
Pope. Towards the close of the seventeenth century the descendants of 
these same Orthodox Christians eagerly inscribed themselves as pupils 
in a new-model Western school in which Technology had been sub¬ 
stituted for Theology as the obligatory principal subject. This revolution 
in the Orthodox Christian attitude towards the West in response to the 
West’s own revolutionary revaluation of traditional Western spiritual 

Science, was the essence of the seventeenth-century Western cultural revolution. The 
scientific outlook, in itself, was not at that time a novelty in the Western Society's 
spiritual constitution. It had been an ingredient in the Western Weltanschauung ever 
since the twelfth-century Aristotelian renaissance (see X. i*. 45-48). What was new was 
the elevation of Science from a subordinate position, in which it had been made to 
serve as Religion's handmaid, to the throne from which Religion had now been ig- 
nominiously ejected; and this revolutionary rise in Science's prestige in Western eyes, 
and revolutionary liberation of Science in the West from traditional religious checks and 
balances, were the innovations that now gave the Western Civilization its new ithos and 
its new penetrative power in its impacts on alien bodies social. 

This would be the present writer’s commentary on the following striking passage in 
one of Professor Herbert Butterfield's works: 

'The seventeenth century . . . did not merely bring a new factor into history in the 
way we often assume—one that must just be added, so to speak, to the other permanent 
factors. The new factor immediately began to elbow at the other ones, pushing them out 
of their places, and, indeed, began immediately to seek control of the rest, as the apostles 
of the new movement had declared their intention of doing from the very start. The 
result was the emergence of a kind of Western Civilization which when transmitted to 
Japan operates on tradition there as it operates on tradition here—dissolving it and hav¬ 
ing eyes for nothing save a future of brave new w-orlds . . . When we speak of Western 
Civilization being carried to an Oriental country like Japan in recent generations, we 
do not mean Graeco-Roman philosophy and humanist ideals, we do not mean the 
Christianising of Japan, we mean the science, the modes of thought and alt that appa¬ 
ratus of civilisation which were beginning to change the face of the West in the latter 

half of the seventeenth century-It was a civilisation that could cut itself away from 

the Graeco-Roman heritage in general, away from Christianity itself—only too con¬ 
fident in its power to exist independent of anything of the kind. Wc know now that what 
was emerging towards the end of the seventeenth centurv was a civilisation exhilaratingly 
new perhaps, but strange as Nineveh and Babylon. That is why, since the rise of 
Christianity, there is no landmark in history that is worthy to be compared with this.' 
(Butterfield, H.: The Origins 0/ Modern Science, 1300-1S00 (London, 1949, Bell), pp. 

7 Why wns^it that this secularized version of the Western culture had the corrosive effect 
on the lives of assaulted societies to which Professor Butterfield draws attention in this 
passage ? As the writer of this Study secs it, this corrosiveness was due not to the addition 
of a new ingredient but to the excision of an old one. In breaking away from the religious 
core of a fissile Western Civilization, this secular technological flake became a less un¬ 
inviting and at the same time a more deadly bait for any alien society to which it might 
be proffered (see further, pp. e30-42, below). , 

• Sec IV. iv. 142-3, 150, 184. 2*7-8, *nd 643-5; V. v. 669-71; and V. vi. 316-17. 

2 See pp. 514-21. below. 



120 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
values would assuredly have produced some equivalent of the Petrine 
Revolution in Russia, even if the personal genius of Peter the Great 1 had 
not happened to make its dramatic epiphany on the imperial throne of 
Muscovy at that historic moment. 

The voluntary reception of a secularized form of the Western culture 
by the Muscovite and Ottoman Orthodox Christians towards the close 
of the seventeenth century was, however, only the harbinger of a move¬ 
ment in which the other non-Western societies of the Old World took 
their time over following suit. 

In the Islamic Society, for example, such trifling symptoms as a 
Dutch-inspired passing craze for growing tulips during the chapter of 
Ottoman history that had consequently won the name of 'the Tulip 
Period’ (circa a.d. 1718-36), 2 and an Italian touch in the decoration of 
mosques built in the eighteenth century of the Christian Era in Con¬ 
stantinople, were the only portents of Westernization until the shock of 
defeat at the hands of a recently Westernized Orthodox Christian Power 
in the Great Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1768-74 inspired Sultan Selim 
III (imperabat a.d. 1789-1807) to attempt the serious and controversial 
enterprise of radically Westernizing the Ottoman military system. 3 
Thus in Ottoman history the question of Westernization did not become 
a live issue till the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of the 
Christian Era, and the failure of Sultan Selim’s first essay was followed 
by nearly a century and a half of reluctant half-measures and disappoint¬ 
ing set-backs before the Ottoman Turkish people were moved, by the 
supreme shock of defeat in the General War of a.d. 1914-18 and its 
political and military aftermath, to commit themselves at long last to a 
whole-hearted adoption of the Westernization policy as the manifest 
only alternative to national extinction. 

The Ottoman Turks who thus lagged so far behind their Serb and 
Greek Orthodox Christian subjects in taking the path of Westernization 
were, however, in the vanguard of the Muslim travellers along this 
cultural road, and were abreast, if not ahead, of the pioneer Westernizers 
in all other non-Western societies in the Old World with the one excep¬ 
tion of Orthodox Christendom. In the Hindu Society the Bengalis 
began to open their minds to the reception of the Western Civilization 
before the close of the eighteenth century as a result of their experience 
of Western rule from a.d. 1757 onwards, but in this they were at least a 
generation ahead of any other Hindu people, and the Westernization of 
the Hindu Society as a whole did not set in until after the political 
reunification of India under a Western raj in the course of the nineteenth 
century. As for the Far Eastern Society, the reception of the Western 
Civilization did not begin before the fifth decade of the nineteenth 
century in China, and not before the sixth decade of the same century 
in Japan. In the year a.d. 1952 the re-opening of Japan’s doors to the 
West in a.d. 1854, after a lock-out that had lasted for 216 years (a.d. 
1638-1854), was not yet a century old. 

The relative lowness of these figures in the chronology of the living 

1 Sec III. iii. 278-83. 1 See V. vi. 290. 

J See III. iii. 48 *nd V. vi. 221. 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 121 

non-Wcstcrn civilizations’ encounters with the Modem West up to date 
comes out when we turn to consider the chronology of the cultural 
relations between a post-Alexandrine Hellenic Civilization and its con¬ 
temporaries. 

At the time of writing in the twentieth century of the Christian Era 
this encounter between the World and Hellenism was manifestly long 
since over, so that it was possible for the historian to follow the whole 
story of it from beginning to end and to ascertain how long it had taken 
for each of the divers consequences of the encounter to work itself out; 
and, when the twentieth-century observer felt his way back into the past 
in quest of the latest discernible cultural interactions between Hellenism 
and other civilizations, he did not have to probe deeper than the twelfth 
century of the Christian Era in order to strike the historical evidence for 
which he was prospecting. In that century both the Far Eastern World 
in the last days of the Northern Sung Dynasty in China and of 'the 
Cloistered Emperors’ in Japan 1 and the Syriac World in the last days 
of the successor-states of a foundered Umayyad Caliphate in Andalusia 
and a foundered 'Abbasid Caliphate in South-Western Asia and Egypt 
were still reacting to the impact of Hellenism with a vigour that leaves 
no room for doubt. In the Far East in that age the visual arts were still 
being inspired by the abiding influence of an Hellenic art which, travel¬ 
ling at the heels of an Alexander of Macedon and a Demetrius of Bactria, 
had continued, long after these Hellenic conquerors’ empires had passed 
away, to radiate into regions where the earth had never been shaken by 
the tramp of the Phalanx; and in the Syriac World of the same age an 
Hellenic philosophy and science that had come to maturity in the mind of 
Alexander’s preceptor Aristotle were working in Oriental minds through 
the medium of the Arabic language with a creatively stimulating effect 
which Hellenism had never been able to exert, at this deep cultural 
level, during a previous millennium of Hellenic military and political 
domination 2 under which the minds of the Hellenic rulers’ non- 
Hellenic subjects had been prejudiced against the reception of the 
intellectual fruits of the Hellenic genius by a resentment at the presence 
in their midst of an alien intruder who had thrust his civilization upon 
them by force of arms. 

Thus in the Syriac as well as in the Far Eastern World the influence 
of Hellenism in the twelfth century of the Christian Era was still not 
only vigorous but also fruitful; and this important last phase in the 
history of the encounter between a post-Alexandrine Hellenism and 
these two other civilizations was working itself out some fifteen hundred 
years after Alexander’s crossing of the Hellespont in the year 334 b.c. 
had inaugurated this episode in the story of Helleno-Syriac relations, 
and some 1,350 years after Demetrius’s passage of the Hindu Kush in 
183 B.c. had started a train of historical developments that had resulted 
in the transit of Greek art, in the service of the Mahayana, from the 


* bee IV. iv. 94 and V. vj. 303. . . 

« The Time-span between Alexander’s conquest of the Achsemenian Empire in the 
fourth century b.c. and the Primitive Muslim Arabs’ liquidation of Roman rule south 
of the Taurus in the seventh century of the Christian Era. 



122 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
banks of the Jumna to the banks of the Yellow River. To arrive at corres¬ 
ponding stages in the uncompleted histories of the encounters between 
the Modern West and its living contemporaries, a twentieth-century 
student of contacts between civilizations would have to cast forward 
into the Future some 1,200 years beyond his own day, considering 
that the history of a contact between the Modem West and Orthodox 
Christendom, which had begun in the seventeenth century of the 
Christian Era, would run into the thirty-second century if it were to 
attain the Time-span of 1,500 years that had been the duration of 
the encounter between Hellenism and the Syriac Civilization, while the 
history of a contact between the Modern West and Japan which, in 
the writer’s generation, was still less than a hundred years old, would 
run into the same thirty-second century if it was to have the 1,350 years’ 
duration of the encounter between Hellenism and the Indie Civilization. 

On the index of this Time-scale we can estimate the measure of a 
twentieth-century observer’s inability to foresee the ultimate psycho¬ 
logical effects of the impacts of the Modern Western Civilization upon its 
living contemporaries, when we consider how much of what this same 
twentieth-century observer did know about the ultimate psychological 
effects of the corresponding impacts of a post-Alexandrine Hellenism 
would have been unknown to him if, instead of his being able to watch 
the whole story unfolding itself over a Time-span of a minimum 
length of 1,350 years and a maximum of 1,500, the accident of his 
own position in the chronological series had confronted him with the 
mental iron curtain of the human mind’s ignorance of the Future at a 
date not much farther removed than two and a half centuries from the 
beginning of this fiftecn-hundred-years-long tale. 

If latter-day students of History had been thus compelled to confine 
their historical vision of the impact of Hellenism within this narrow 
chronological compass of one quarter of a millennium, then, in that 
imaginary situation—as they could sec, in the light of the knowledge 
which they actually commanded—not only the last phase but all other 
really momentous incidents in the story would have been still lying 
beyond their range of historical vision. On a range as short as 250 years 
the beginning, as well as the end, of the influence of Hellenic philosophy 
and science on Arabic philosophy and science, and of Hellenic art on 
Chinese and Japanese art, would still have been hidden below their 
historical horizon, and so would the final liquidation of Hellenic rule on 
Syriac ground by Arab force of arms in the seventh century of the 
Christian Era, which, as we have seen, was the psychologically requisite 
prelude to a hearty reception of Greek thought in Arabic dress by Syriac 
minds. On these thus imaginarily blinkered latter-day observers’ side of 
the close confines of their field of vision, they would just have caught a 
glimpse of the earliest violent Oriental reactions against an Hellenic 
political domination—the infiltration of the Parni into Parthia in the 
third century B.c.; the more militant anti-Hellenic insurrections in 
Egypt and Judaea in the second century B.c.; and the subsequent collapse 
of the Seleucid Power—without having been able to guess either that, 
in the last century b.c., Rome was going to consolidate the political 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 123 

heritage of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies west of the Euphrates or 
that, after Syria and Egypt had thus been retained under Hellenic 
rule for a further 700 years as provinces of the Roman Empire, 
Roman rule south of the Taurus would eventually be liquidated in its 
turn by a feat of Arab arms as abruptly as the Achaemcnian Empire had 
been liquidated by a feat of Macedonian arms at the inauguration of this 
historical episode, a thousand years back. 

More than that, these chronologically handicapped Western students 
of History would have remained uninitiated into the most important of 
all the consequences that the impact of a post-Alexandrine Hellenism 
was to bring in its train; for they would have had hardly an inkling of the 
religious response which, at the point in the story where an imaginary 
mental iron curtain cut their vista off, the Orientals were about to make 
to an Hellenic military challenge. What observer—Greek or Jew, Bar¬ 
barian, Scythian, bond or free 1 —could have guessed, if he had been 
born into a Hellenizing World no later than 250 years after Alexander’s 
passage of the Hellespont, that the intellectual influence of Hellenic 
thought on Oriental minds was to be long anticipated in date, and 
utterly eclipsed in importance as measured by its effect on the terrestrial 
destiny of Mankind, by a spiritual influence of Oriental religion on 
Hellenic souls? How could any observer have foreseen, from so prema¬ 
ture a chronological station, that there would be, not only a change of 
plane, from the political to the cultural level, and a change of ethos, 
from violence to gentleness, in the encounter between the Hellenes and 
their Oriental victims, but also a reversal in the roles of the actors—a 
reversal in which the initiative would pass from the Hellenic to the 
Oriental side ? 

This turning of the tables in the subsequent history of the relations 
between victors who had won their battle, and vanquished who had lost 
theirs, on the material plane of physical force was a more marvellous 
victory than any ever won by an Alexander of Macedon or a Demetrius 
of Bactria or a S'ad b. abi Waqqas or an 'Amr b. al-'As, just because it 
was not gained over adversaries in a counter-offensive, stimulated by a 
thirst for a revanche , after the pattern of the 'holy war’ in which Amosis 
expelled the Hyksos from the Delta or the Ming the Mongols from 
China-within-the-Wall. The Oriental evangelists of the higher religions 
succeeded in taking their Hellenic military conquerors spiritually captive 
because they approached them, not with animus, as enemies to be 
overthrown, but with love, as souls to be saved. Alexander of Macedon’s 
military conquest of the Achaemcnian Empire and Demetrius of 
Bactria’s pounce upon the Maurya Raj received this rejoinder in a 
language that ignored the argument of the sword when Kanishka was 
converted to the Mahayana some two and a half centuries after Deme¬ 
trius’s military exploit, and Constantine to Christianity some six and a 
half centuries after Alexander's similar triumph over Darius. To trans¬ 
late the story from personal into institutional terms, we may say that the 
Catholic MahSyana was the Indie Society’s reply to the Bactrian Greek 
and Kushan empires, and the Catholic Christian Church the Syriac 

» Col. iii. n. 



124 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Society’s reply to the Seleucid and Roman empires. These universal 
churches were the new works of creation that were generated by the 
impacts of Hellenism on the Indie and Syriac worlds; and the average 
of the lengths of time that the peripeteia took to work itself out from 
Demetrius's day to Kanishka's and from Alexander’s to Constantine’s 
was, as will be noticed, just about twice as long as the longest contact, up 
to date, between the Modem West and any of its living contemporaries. 

The course of the past and therefore known encounters between a 
post-Alcxandrine Hellenism and its Syriac and Indie sisters did not 
warrant any presumption that the still untransacted future passages in 
the encounters of the Modem West with other living civili2ations would 
follow the same course or anything like it. There were, however, two 
expectations which this historical parallel might perhaps legitimately 
suggest. The first was that the two hundred and fifty years during which 
the Modern West had been making its impact, up to date, on Orthodox 
Christendom were likely to prove in retrospect to be a small instalment 
of the whole story by comparison with the length of the instalments 
which, at that date, were still due to follow. The second legitimate 
expectation, in the light of the Hellenic precedent, was that, however 
widely the denouement of the play in which the Modern West was the 
protagonist might differ from that of the Hellenic drama in substance, 
it was likely at least to resemble it in the subjective point of being an 
outcome that would have been utterly surprising to a spectator whose 
ticket had actually admitted him to witness the performance of only the 
first act. The astonishment that a miraculous ’pre-view’ of the dramatic 
situation in the thirty-second century would have produced in the mind 
of a twentieth-century observer of an historical drama entitled ‘the World 
and the West’ might be augured by imagining what the feelings of the 
Hellenic philosopher-historian Poscidonius of Apamea (vivebat circa 
135-51 b.c.) would have been if he could have foreseen the state of the 
relations between the Syriac Civilization and Hellenism in the succes¬ 
sive generations of Constantine (imperabat a.d. 306-337), Mu'Swiyah 
(imperabat a.d. 661-6S0), and Avicenna (vivebat a.d. 980-1037). 

On this showing, a twentieth-century student of human affairs might 
expect to find the history of the encounters between the Modern West 
and its contemporaries comparatively unilluminating, for the same 
reason that had condemned the domestic history of the Western Civili¬ 
zation to be comparatively unilluminating for a study of the species of 
societies of which it was one representative. 1 An imperfect specimen is 
manifestly not the best choice for the purposes of scientific observation 
and research; and, in the science of human affairs, there is this blemish 
of imperfection in any historical episode in which less than the whole 
story is within the historian’s knowledge. Thus, while twentieth-century 
Western students of History might hope that the set of encounters in 
which the Modern West had been the hero—or the villain—might offer 
them a convenient starting-point for a survey of episodes of this category, 
they could not count on this still unfinished story’s proving equally 
serviceable to them thereafter in the subsequent stages of their inquiry. 

* See I. j. 36-37. 



A PLAN OF OPERATIONS 125 

When we pass on from a preliminary attempt to assemble the relevant 
facts to our ulterior enterprise of trying to interpret them, our standby 
will prove to be the parallel set of encounters between a post-Alcxandrine 
Hellenic Civilization and its contemporaries in which a twentieth- 
century student did know the whole story as it had unfolded itself, from 
beginning to end, over periods of time of a vastly greater order of magni¬ 
tude than 250, or even 450, years. 

The Time-span of fifteen hundred years over which the history of 
the Helleno-Syriac encounter extends, from the Hellenic conquest of the 
Achaemenian Empire by Alexander the Great to the Syriac reception of 
Greek thought in Arabic dress, will be shown by our survey to be a per¬ 
formance of unusual length; but we shall be able to draw upon the 
histories of other encounters which, though considerably shorter than 
that, had nevertheless likewise been illuminatingly longer than the 
encounters between the West and other living civilizations up to date. 
The encounter between the Syriac and Babylonic civilizations, for 
example, occupied some nine or ten centuries if we reckon that it began 
with Asshurnazirpal’s assault on Syria in 876 B.c. 1 and ended with 
the absorption of the mortal remains of the Babylonic Society into the 
still living tissues of the Syriac body social 2 in the first century of the 
Christian Era. 3 Again, the encounter between a Medieval Western 
Christendom, an Eastern Orthodox Christendom, and the Syriac World 
occupied some seven or eight centuries if we date its beginning in the 
eleventh century of the Christian Era, when the Western Christendom 
launched a general offensive against its two neighbours on a front ex¬ 
tending from Compostella to Edessa, and date its end at a.d. 1797, 
when the liquidation of the Venetian regime in the Ionian Islands liber¬ 
ated tire last remnant of a subject Orthodox Christian population from 
the domination of the Medieval Western Crusaders’ Italian successors. 4 

The social and psychological phenomena arising from these relatively 
long-drawn-out encounters will illuminate our study in later divisions 
of this Part. Our first task, however, is to carry out the operation of 
surveying the facts on the plan which we have now worked out. 


See IV. iv. 473, n. 3 

5 Sec I. i. 79-80 and 1x9; II. ii. £38^ IV. >Y-. 47 1 1 v - Y: 


v. 04, X22— 3, and 370. 

N.J., in June 1952, the writer 


> At the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, . . . .» . 

learnt from Professor O. Neugebaucr that the scries of cuneiform documents disinterred 
in Babylonia by Modern Western archaeologists, which had formerly included no 
documents of any dace later than the last century b.c., had now been extended chrono¬ 
logically by a recent discovery of documents of the first century of the Christian Era. 

* See p. 115, n. 4, above. The terminal date would be, not a.d. 1797, but a.d. 1945. 
if, in view of the implication of the Russian branch of Orthodox Christendom, as well 
as the main body, in the medieval encounter between an Orthodox Christendom and 
her Western sister, we were to reckon the episode as still not being closed so long as, 
on the continental front between a Russian Orthodox Christendom and the Western 
World, a remnant of Orthodox or ex-Orthodox Uniatc Ukrainians and White Russians 
still remained under Polish rule. In the following survey, however, the encounter 
between the Medieval Western Christendom and the Russian offshoot of an Eastern 
Orthodox Christendom is dealt with as a separate episode from the Medieval Western 
Christendom’s encounter with the main body of its Orthodox Christian sister society. 


126 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 


(II) OPERATIONS ACCORDING TO PLAN 

(a) ENCOUNTERS WITH THE MODERN WESTERN CIVILIZATION 

i. The Modem West and Russia.' 

Russia's * Western Question’ 

If the opening of the ‘modern’ chapter of Western history is to be 
dated at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of the Christian 
Era, 2 and the establishment of a Russian Orthodox Christian universal 
state in the eighth decade of the fifteenth century—which saw the politi¬ 
cal unification of Russian Orthodox Christendom through the incorpora¬ 
tion of the Republic of Novgorod into the Grand Duchy of Muscovy 1 — 
this outstanding political event in the history of the Orthodox Christian 
Society in Russia just anticipated the impact on Russia of the Western 
Civilization in its ‘modern’ form, and the subsequent chapter in the 
history of Russia’s ‘Western Question’ was all transacted while Russia 
was in her universal state phase. 

This ‘Western Question’ was already familiar to Russian minds in an 
older shape; for Russia’s encounter with the West in and after the six¬ 
teenth century was not her first contact with her Western neighbour and 
sister. A previous contact, in the Medieval Age of Western history, 
which is examined separately below, 4 had resulted, in the course of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries of the Christian Era, in the establish¬ 
ment of Western Christian Polish and Lithuanian rule over large 
stretches of the original patrimony of Russian Orthodox Christendom, 
including, besides the entire domains of the White Russian and Ukrain¬ 
ian peoples, a western fringe of Great Russian territory round Smolensk ; s 
and the Moscow which, at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centur¬ 
ies, had recently become the capital of a Russian universal state had 
come, before that, to be the frontier fortress of an independent remnant 
of Russian Orthodox Christendom against a Western Christendom 
which had made those sweeping encroachments on her sister society’s 
ground. This previous encounter of Russia’s with a Medieval Western 
Christendom had an aftermath in the history of Russia’s subsequent 
relations with the Modem West. 

In the course of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries 
the Western Civilization’s hold over the Russian populations in Poland- 
Lithuania was strengthened by the cumulative cultural consequences of 
the political union of the Kingdom of Lithuania with the Kingdom of 
Poland, which was consummated in a.d. 1569, 6 and the ecclesiastical 
union of a large part of the Russian Orthodox Christian community in 
Poland-Lithuania with the Roman Catholic Church, which took place 
in a.d. 1594-6. In the detached fragment of a Russian Orthodox 
Christendom that was thus clamped on to the Western World by these 
two institutional bonds, the Western culture, in a Polish dilution of its 


• See xi, maps 40 and 65. * See 

J See IV. iv. 88; V. v. 3:2; and VI. vii. 32, with 


ment in n. 2. 

5 Sec II. ii. 172 and 175-6. 


a. 114-16, above, 
rince D. Obolensky's com- 
On pp. 356-7 and pp. 398-403, below. 

* See II. ii. 175. 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 127 

modern distillation, succeeded—largely thanks to the missionary activi¬ 
ties of the Jesuits—in captivating the local land-owning aristocracy 
which had originally been Ukrainian, White Russian, or Lithuanian in 
nationality and Orthodox Christian or pagan in religion. While the 
cx-Orthodox peasantry who came under the ecclesiastical supremacy 
of the Papacy as a result of the ecclesiastical union of A.D. 1594-6 became 
members of a Uniate church which was allowed to retain most of its 
traditional rites and discipline, many members of the ex-Orthodox 
nobility travelled the whole length of the ecclesiastical road to Westerni¬ 
zation by becoming Roman Catholics of the Latin Rite. 

At the same time the political sovereignty over ex-Russian territories 
in which the Modern Western Civilization was gaining these converts 
was one of the stakes in a fluctuating military contest between a Russian 
universal state and a succession of Continental European Western 
Powers. In another conncxionit has already been pointed out 1 that, at 
the moment when an ownerless East Roman Imperial mantle was falling 
about a Muscovite Grand Duke’s shoulders as a consequence of the 
capture of Constantinople by the ‘Osmanlis in a.d. 1453, the Russian 
recipients of this ideological legacy from ‘the Second Rome’ were so 
exactingly preoccupied with the immediate task of arresting the advance 
of a Western aggressor who was already at their gates, and with the 
ulterior aspiration of eventually liberating the adjacent Russian Ortho¬ 
dox Christian populations which had fallen under a Western domination, 
that they were deaf to sly Western suggestions that they should assert 
their title to their East Roman Imperial heritage by challenging an 
Ottoman domination over non-Russian Orthodox Christian peoples 2 
who were sundered from Muscovy by the double barrier of the Eurasian 
Steppe 3 and the Black Sea. Meanwhile, at the western approaches to 

1 See the citation from Obolensky and the quotation from Sumner in VI. vii. 37, 
n. 1. 

3 On the agenda of Muscovite statesmen the first business was to challenge the West¬ 
ern domination over Russian Orthodox Christians in White Russia and the Ukraine. 
An undertaking to abstain from any form of oppression of Orthodox Christians under 
Lithuanian and Polish rule was obtained from Poland-Lithusnia by Muscovy in a.d, 
1686 and was followed un by active Muscovite intervention on those Orthodox Christ¬ 
ians’ behalf in a.d. 1718-25 (see Sumner, B. H.: Peler the Great and the Ottoman 
Empire (Oxford 1949, Blackwell), pp. 32-33; eundem: Peter the Great and the Emergence 
of Rustia (London 1950, English Universities Press), np. 181 and 183). A corresponding 
undertaking from the Ottoman Porte was sought by Muscovite diplomacy at Carlowitx 
in a.d. 1698-9 and at Constantinople in a.d. 1690-1700 (see eundem, Peter the Great 
and the Ottoman Empire. p. 32), but in this field the objective was not attained till a.d. 
1774. The first manifesto in which Russia declared herself the champion of the Ottoman 
Christians and called upon them to take up arms in a common struggle against the 
'Osmanlis was Peter the Great’s proclamation of March 17x1 (see ibid., p. 46), and 
Peter’s ill-starred invasion of Moldavia in the same year waa the first appearance of a 
Russian army within the confines of an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom. On this occa¬ 
sion 'a Russian army entered Moldavia and Russian cavalry watered their horses in the 
Danube ... for the first time for more than seven centuries’ (ibid., p. 30). In A.D. 969- 
72, when the pagan Russian war-lord Svyatoslav had passed that way, the valley of the 
Pruth had not yet been co!oni2ed by an Orthodox Christian population. 

J Sumner points out (in op. cit., pp. 14. 27. »nd 79 ) 'bat, so long as the Great Western 
Bay of the Eurasian Steppe remained a Nomad’s land, regular armies could not operate 
across it without risk of disaster, though it was a highly conductive medium for raids 
by the Crimean Tatar horse (sec ibid., p. 15, n. 3). Galitsin’s two attempts, in A.D. 1697 
and a.d. 1699, to invade the Crimea across the Steppe ended as unsuccessfully (see ibid., 
p. 15) as the Ottoman attempt in a.d. 1569 to seize and hold the Don-Volga portage 
(see the present Study, II. ii. 445, and pp. 225-7, below). When Peter the Great invaded 



128 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

Moscow, the ‘irrepressible conflict’ between Muscovy and the West over 
the allegiance of White Russia and the Ukraine went on for some five 
hundred years, reckoning from the middle of the fifteenth century, 
which saw the high tide of Lithuania’s expansion at the Russian 
Orthodox Christendom’s expense, 1 down to the close of the General 
War of a.d. 1939-45, when the annexation of Eastern Galicia to the 
Soviet Union brought back under Russian rule the last still unrecaptured 
residue of the Russian Orthodox Christian territories that had been 
conquered for the West in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by 
Polish and Lithuanian arms. 2 

Channels of Western Cultural Radiation into Russia. 

The military and political victory which Russia thus eventually 
obtained over the West on this Continental European front was offset 
on the cultural plane by the consequent propagation of Modern 
Western influences from these semi-Westernizcd tracts of originally 
Russian ground into a Muscovy which had exposed herself to this 
Western cultural contamination by wresting one after another of the 
infected territories out of the hands of their Western conquerors and 
uniting them politically with a Muscovite citadel of Russian Orthodox 
Christendom which had never fallen under Western rule. The most 
important single event in this long-drawn-out process was Muscovy’s 
acquisition, in a.d. 1667, 3 of Kiev, the Ukrainian city which had been a 
pre-Muscovite Russia’s political and cultural capital, and which, under 
Polish rule, had latterly become a powerful transmitting-station for 
Western cultural influences. Under a Polono-Jesuit dispensation at 
Kiev, even the Orthodox Christian clergy who had rejected the ecclesias¬ 
tical union of a.d. 1594-6 had nevertheless been deeply affected by the 
culture and ethos of a Tridentine Roman Church; and, after the transfer 
of Kiev from Polish to Muscovite sovereignty, Peter the Great found 


Moldavia in a.d. 1711, he marched, not via the direct route across the Steppe, but via 
a roundabout route through the Polish Ukraine; and in A.D. 1739 Munich followed the 
same roundabout route with success, after having been foiled in a.d. 1738 in an attempt 
to invade Moldavia by the steppe-route (see Sumner, op. cit., p. 39, n. 3). The Steppe 
remained an obstacle to regular military operations until it had been colonized by a 
sedentary agricultural population, and this colonization did not begin till the plantation, 
in a.d. 1754. of a 'New Serbia' between the Dnicpr and the Bug, and did not get under 
way, full swing, till after the Russo-Turkish peace-settlement of a.d. 1774. 

* See II. ii. 172 and 175-6. 

* After the War of a.d. 1939-45 the Soviet Union completed the political unification, 
within her frontiers, of the entire geographical domain of the Ukrainian people by further 
acquiring Carpatho-Ruthcnia: a territory, adjoining Eastern Galicia and likewise in¬ 
habited oy Ukrainians, which had been attached to Czechoslovakia since the peace 
settlement after the War of a.d. 1914-18, and to Hungary before that. These Trans- 
carpathian Ukrainians were sundered from the main body of their nation by the barrier 
of the mountains, and there was no evidence that Carpatho-Ruthcnia had ever been 
associated politically with the rest of the Ukraine in any previous chapter of Ukrainian 
history. 

3 In the Muscovite-Polish Peace Treaty of Andrusovo, concluded in a.d. 1667, it was 
agreed that Kiev, which was at that moment in Muscovite hands, should remain under 
Muscovite occupation for two years longer, notwithstanding the fact that the city lay 
on the west bank of the River Dniepr, which, by the terms of the Treaty, was to be the 
permanent frontier between the two contracting parties. The Muscovites, however, did 
not ever evacuate Kiev, and Poland renounced her claim to it in a.d. 1686 (sec Allen, 
W. E. D.: The Ukraine, A History (Cambridge 1940, University Press), pp. 158 and 176). 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 129 

pliant instruments among this Western-minded Kievan Orthodox 
clergy' for carrying through the measures 2 by which he succeeded in 
bringing a less tractable Muscovite Orthodox Church into line with his 
own Westernizing policy. 

This originally Russian but latterly semi-Westcrnized debatable 
territory on the continental .borderland between Muscovy and the 
Western World had not, however, been the principal field in which the 
encounter between Russia and the Western Civilization in its modern 
form had been taking place down to the time of writing on the morrow 
of the General War of a.d. 1939-45. F° r one thing, the Polish reflexion of 
the Modern Western culture was too dim—even when the rustic mirror 
had been polished up by skilful and assiduous Jesuit hands—to impress 
itself deeply on Muscovite Russian souls after the political annexation of 
this border to an expanding Muscovite Empire; and, when the process of 
Muscovite political expansion overland towards the West had gone on 
to embrace East European territories whose culture was completely 
Western in origin, the cultural effect of this political association had 
likewise been slight. During the hundred years (a.d. 1815-1915) for 
which 'Congress Poland’, for example, had been linked politically with 
‘All the Russias’ under the sovereignty of the Romanovs, Warsaw had 
exerted little more cultural influence on Moscow and St. Petersburg 
than Moscow and St. Petersburg had exerted during the same years on 
Warsaw. 1 In the crucial encounter between Russia and the Modern 
West the principals on the Western side had never, so far, been the 
relatively backward representatives of the Modern Western Civiliza¬ 
tion who were Russia’s immediate continental neighbours in Eastern 
Europe; they had been those maritime peoples on the European shores 
of the Atlantic who, at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, 
had taken over from the North Italians the leadership of the Western 
World and had initiated its successive enterprises in the modern chapter 
of its history. 

This latterly dominant group of maritime Western countries had 
come to include not only those in Western Europe, but also Russia’s 
immediate maritime neighbours along the east coast of the Baltic, from 
Courland to Finland inclusive, who all came under Russian sovereignty 
in the course of the eighteenth century; but, though, from the time of 
Peter the Great down to the Russian Communist Revolution of a.d. 
1917, the German barons and bourgeoisie of the Baltic provinces exer¬ 
cised an influence on Russian life which was out of proportion to their 
numbers, the influence of the West European peoples counted for much 
more, and this influence did not merely filter into Russia through Kiev 

> See Platonov, S.: Hisioire de la Russit da Origines d 1918 (Pari* 1929. Payot), pp. 
648-50. Cp. Kliutschcwskij, W. (K!uchev*kii, V.J: Geichichtt Rutslandt (Berlin 1925-6, 
Obelisk-Vcrlag, 4 vote.), vol. iv, p. 175. 

i See III. iti. 283, n. 2. 

1 Thi* nineteenth-century experience threw some light on the cultural prospect* of 
n latter-day political situation in which the western limits of Russia’s political ascen¬ 
dancy, after having receded, between the First and the Second World War, to the line 
along which it had run in the years A.D. 179J-5. stood once again on native Western 
ground—and this time as far westward as a line running from a westerly point on the 
southern shore of the Baltic Sea to an easterly point on the northern flank of the Austrian 
Alps (see p. 142, n. 6, below). 

B 2388 .vm 


F 


130 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
and Riga; it was also conveyed direct through ports of entry which the 
Russian Imperial Government deliberately opened to receive it. 

The earliest of these Russian water-gates for the direct reception of 
the Modern Western Civilization was the mouth of the Northern 
Dvina on the coast of the White Sea, which was reached by an English 
ship in a.d. 1553, some eleven years after the first Portuguese landfall 
on the coast of Japan. 1 The Muscovite Government responded by found¬ 
ing the port-town of Archangel there in a.d. 1584, and the Westerners 
who entered Russia by this route established an inland outpost in 'the 
Sloboda' 1 on the threshold of Moscow. The direct intercourse between 
Western Europe and Russia via the White Sea was thus inaugurated on 
the initiative of the West European mariners in the course of their 
sixteenth-century conquest of the Ocean, but the intensity of the in¬ 
fluence of the Modern Western Civilization on Russia was keyed up to a 
higher pitch when, in the opening years of the eighteenth century, the 
circuitous maritime route between Russia and Western Europe via 
Archangel was short-circuited, on Russian initiative, by the foundation 
of St. Petersburg, 3 and when the field within which this alien influence 
was allowed to exert itself in the interior of the Russian World was 
simultaneously expanded from the narrow limits of 'the Sloboda’ to 
embrace the entire domain of an empire which, in Peter’s day, already 
stretched all the way from the Baltic to the Pacific. 

Alternative Russian Responses to the Challenge of Western Technology 
In an intercourse between Russia and the Modern West which, by 
the time of writing, had been active for some 250 years at this high pitch 
of intensity, and, in a lower key, for some two hundred years before 
that, the plot of the drama was dictated by a perpetual interplay between 
the demonic technological prowess of the Modern Western World and 
a no less demonic determination in Russian souls to preserve Russia’s 
independence against all comers. The Russians had their hearts thus 
set on the independence of their society because their minds were 
convinced of the uniqueness of Russia’s destiny; and this Russian con¬ 
viction was something more than the common egocentric illusion that 
afflicts all societies and individuals in some degree. 4 The Russians' 

E liar sense of destiny had found expression, as we have seen, 5 in a 
f that the mantle of Constantinople had fallen on Moscow’s 
shoulders; and the pretensions of Constantinople—'the Second Rome’ 
—had been greater than those of Rome herself; for the pagan Roman 
Empire had believed in itself merely on the matter-of-fact mundane 
ground that Rome had been the ultimate victor in a competition be- 

* The first English landfall on the White Sea coast of Russia and the first Portuguese 
landfall on the coast of Japan were, both alike, unintentional achievements of ships that 
had been driven out of their course by bad weather. 

1 This Western Christian equivalent of a ghetto in pre-Petrine Muscovy has been 
noticed in II. ii. 230-2 and II f. iii. 280-2. ‘By the time of Peter’s boyhood there may 
have been some three thousand foreigners in all in Muscovy—almost entirely Protes¬ 
tant/—Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Emergence 0} Russia (London 1950, 
English Universities Press), p. 12. 

’ See II. ii. 157-8; V. vi. 343; and VI. vii. 221-2. 

4 For this illusion, see I. i. 157-64. 


i In VI. vii. 31-40. 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 131 

tween the Great Powers of a post-Alexandrine Hellenic World for 
providing a disintegrating society with a universal state, whereas the 
Christian Roman Empire had fortified its Roman self-confidence with 
the transcendental Christian faith that the Orthodox Church had in¬ 
herited from Jewry the spiritual privilege of being God’s ‘Chosen 
People’. 

Moscow’s assumption of the role of a unique repository and citadel of 
Orthodoxy had been a cumulative process, beginning with the consolida¬ 
tion of an effective political power through the political unification of a 
still independent remnant of Russian Orthodox Christendom in the 
eighth decade of the fifteenth century 1 and culminating in the acquisi¬ 
tion of an imposing ecclesiastical authority through the establishment of 
an autocephalous Patriarchate of Moscow in a.d. 1589;* and this cen¬ 
tury-, which saw Muscovy thus fortified and consecrated, was also the 
century that saw the Muscovite remnant of Russian independence, in a 
domain already much reduced by Medieval Western encroachments, 
threatened more seriously than ever before by a Modern Western 
World armed with an unprecedented and unrivalled technological 
equipment. An impregnable Muscovite self-assurance thus found itself 
assailed by an irresistible Western material force, and this uncanny 
encounter presented to Russian souls a challenge to which they made 
three diverse responses. 

One Russian response was a totalitarian ‘Zealot’ reaction which found 
its typical exponents in ‘the Old Believers’. These fanatics broke with 
the official Muscovite Church and State over the question whether the 
traditional Muscovite version of Orthodox Christian ritual and discipline 
should or should not be brought into line with seventeenth-century 
Greek practice. 3 They obstinately refused to change one jot or tittle of 
their own parochial Muscovite custom; and the intransigence thus dis¬ 
played in a family quarrel within the bosom of the Orthodox Church 
declared itself, a fortiori, against a policy of adopting anything at all 
from a schismatic Western World. 4 They were unwilling to adopt even 
a Western technolog}' in which the faint virus of a Western spiritual 
tradition was certified, on the Western exporters’ label, to have been 
thoroughly sterilized. ‘The Old Believers’ would not harbour this 
professedly innocuous alien technology even for the laudable purpose of 
safeguarding Holy Russia’s independence by fighting a formidable 
assailant with his own lethal weapons. 

This totalitarian ‘Zealot’ reaction in Russia to the pressure of a Modern 
Western World was as sincere as it was logical. Trusting, as they did, 
wholly in God and not in Man, the Russian ‘Zealots’ were willing to 
stake the existence of their Russian Orthodox Christendom on their 
belief that God would faithfully save His people so long as they loyally 
kept His law; but they never came within sight of winning the power to 
put their belief to a practical test; for they remained an impotent 
minority which, when the moment came for action, was always 

« See VI. vii. if. * See VI. vii. 34 - 35 - s See VI. vii. 36-38. 

♦ See Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Emergence of Rusiia (London 1950, 
English Universities Press), p. 17 - 



i 3 2 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

brushed aside—not because the majority did not share the ‘Zealots’ ’ zeal 
for Russia’s independence, but because they did not believe that their 
common aim could be attained solely through faith without works. The 
making of Russia’s policy towards the Modern West never came into 
the ‘Zealots’ ’ hands; yet, though their reaction was repressed, it was not 
without effect as a subterranean influence when the exponents of an 
alternative policy were in the saddle. For example, 'the Slavophil 
Movement’ which was one of the nineteenth-century cultural phenomena 
of the ‘Herodian’ Petrine regime, and which could be explained, in these 
‘Herodian’ terms, as a Russian variation on the contemporary Romantic 
Movement in the West, revealed itself at the same time, from another 
standpoint, as being a muted expression of the native Russian ‘Zealot’ 
hostility to the Western culture—a hostility which, in an age when a 
Westernizing tendency was in the ascendant in Russia, found itself 
compelled to masquerade in some Western garb or other, 1 and therefore 
fastened upon an archaizing Western movement which was a native 
Western criticism of a latter-day industrial Western way of life. 2 

The thorough-going ‘Herodianism’ which was at the opposite extreme 
of the psychological gamut from the totalitarian ‘Zealotism’ of ‘the Old 
Believers’ was first translated from aspiration into act by the genius of 
the Russian ‘Zealots’ ’ bugbear Peter the Great. 1 The Petrine policy was 
to convert the Russian Empire from a Russian Orthodox Christian 
universal state into one of the parochial states of a Modern Western 
World, in which the Russian people was to take its place as one among 
a number of Western and Westernized nations. This policy sought to 
save Russia’s political independence and cultural autonomy, in a world 
in which the Modern Western way of life was the rule, by gaining admis¬ 
sion for Russia to membership in a Westerners’ club in which eighteenth- 
century enlightened monarchs did not carry their indulgence in 'the 
sport of kings' beyond the point of exercising their forces ‘by temperate and 
undecisive contests’. 4 The modesty and practicality of these aims, which 
were the objective merits of the policy, were also, however, its inherent 
subjective weaknesses; for, from the Russian standpoint, the Petrine 
policy could be denounced as a pursuit of certain means towards Russian 
ends at the cost of sacrificing the very ends which these means pre¬ 
supposed, and in virtue of which alone they were of any value or sig- 

1 See VI. vii. 38-39. 

1 For this aspect of the Modern Western Romantic Movement, see V. vi. 60. 

3 Sumner points out that one of the evidences of Peter’s genius, and secrets of his 
success, is to be found in the fact that, in his Westernizing reforms, he was giving prac¬ 
tical effect to a Westernizing tendency which was already in the air in Muscovy by the 
time when he came into power. ‘The greatness of Peter lies in the fact that to a large 
extent he gave shape to needs and aspirations growing within Muscovite Society of 
the late seventeenth century’ (Peter the Great and the Emergence of Russia (London 1950, 
English Universities Press), p. 3). Peter's father Alexis (imperabat a.d. 1645-76) had 
already gone far enough in this direction to be branded by 'the Old Believers’ as Anti¬ 
christ (sec ibid., p. 19) before he was relieved of this invidious identification by the 
transfer of the epithet to his still more objectionable son (see ibid., p. 66, and the present 
Study, III. iii. 281). ‘It is tragically ironic that [Prince V. v. Galitsin, one of the principal 
ministers of Peter's half-sister Sophia during her regency (eurrebat a.d. 1682-9)], whose 
ideas were so close to Peter's, had no share whatever in carrying into effect Peter's 
reforms’ (ibid., p. 26). 

* Gibbon. E. : The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap, xxxviii, 
ad fin., quoted in IV. iv. 148. 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 133 

nificance in Russian eyes. In acquiescing in the Petrine policy the 
Russians were, in fact, resigning themselves to being, after all, 'like all 
the nations’, 1 and were implicitly renouncing Moscow’s pretension to 
the unique destiny of being the citadel of Orthodoxy: the one society in the 
World that was pregnant with the future hopes of Mankind. This impli¬ 
cation did not prevent Peter’s policy from being tried in Russia—and 
this over a period of more than two hundred years—but it did prevent it 
from ever winning the Russian people’s wholehearted support; and the 
long-suppressed insistence on the uniqueness of Russia’s destiny re¬ 
asserted itself in a Communist Russian reaction to the Modern West 
which found its opportunity in the Petrine reaction’s failure. 

Russian Communism was an attempt to reconcile this irrepressible 
Russian sense of destiny with the ineluctable necessity of coping with 
the Modern West’s technological prowess if Russia was to have any 
destiny at all. 2 The Communist solution for Russia’s perennial ‘Western 
Question’ was to harness the horse-power of the West’s redoubtable 
technique to the chariot of Russia’s incomparable destiny, instead of 
either subordinating Russia’s destiny, as the ‘Hcrodians’ were ready to 
subordinate it, to the exigencies of Westernization, or leaving it, as the 
‘Zealots’ were ready to leave it, in the hands of God; and, of all the three 
Russian answers to ‘the Western Question’, this was the only one that 
appeared to offer any chance of reconciling Russian faith with Western 
facts. This Russian Communist policy was, however, based on an im¬ 
plicit assumption that it was practically possible to appropriate one 
clement in an alien culture without having to adopt the rest of it, and 
this postulate that a culture is not indivisible remained to be proved. 3 
Meanwhile, it was impugned by the significant fact that, in making this 
very assumption, the Russian Communists were already following a 
Western lead. Their belief that cultural and political phenomena could 
all be reduced to economic terms, and that economic facts alone were 
realities and not illusions, was taken by them on faith from the Western 
philosopher-prophet Karl Marx; and, in seeking to rationalize the 
content of the Modern Western Civilization by discarding the element 
of liberal idealism and retaining nothing but an economic materialism, 
Marx had only been going one step farther along a road on which his 
liberal predecessors had entered when, in a revulsion from the Western 
Wars of Religion, they had sought to jettison the religious element in 
the Western tradition, while still retaining a secularized liberalism as an 
idealistic counter-weight to a banausic technology. 

The adoption of a Western ideology of any kind was indeed a para¬ 
doxical way of reasserting, against the Modern Western World, Russia’s 
pretension to be the heir to a unique destiny; and this paradox was a 
striking testimony to the strength—frankly recognized in the Petrine 
‘Hcrodian’ movement—of a current, carrying Russia in a Western direc¬ 
tion, which had not ceased to make its flow felt beneath the surface 

1 1 Sam. viii. 5 and 20. 

1 In virtue of thus striving to reconcile two conflicting exigencies which were both 
imperious, Russian Communism had in it an intrinsic ambivalence which is examined 
further on pp. 607-8, below. 

J This question is discussed on pp. 542-64, below. 


i 3 4 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
when the Petrine regime had been discredited and liquidated. The sub¬ 
stitution of a Marxian ideology derived from the West for an Orthodox 
Christianity derived from Byzantium, as the true faith of which Russia 
was the hallowed repository, was a paradox that was at the same time an 
inevitable corollary of the militant reaction towards Western pressure 
for which Russian Communism stood. 

Lenin and his successors divined that a policy of fighting the West 
with its own weapons could not hope to succeed if the weapons in 

Q uestion were conceived of in exclusively material terms; for, while 
'echnology was the spear-head of the Modern West’s assault on the rest of 
the contemporary world, the assailants might not have penetrated farther 
than the outer defences of their neighbours’ castles if they had delivered 
their attack with material weapons alone. The secret of the Modern 
Western Civilization’s amazing success in propagating itself to the ends of 
the Earth during the last 250 years before the Russian Communist Revo¬ 
lution of a.d. 1917 had lain in a masterly co-operation of the spiritual with 
the temporal arm. The breaches blown by the blast of a Modern 
Western technology had opened a passage for the spirit of a Modern 
Western Liberalism; and the voluntary capitulation of alien souls, 
imprimis Peter the Great’s, to the charm of the Modern Western secular 
culture had done more to make its fortune in the World than all the 
military conquests of a Cortds, Pizarro, Clive, or Wellesley. The latter- 
day leaders of the militant Russian reaction against the West well under¬ 
stood that, if Russia was to reassert against the West her own claim to be 
the child of Destiny, it would not be enough for her to make herself the 
equal of the West in the mastery of the contemporary Western technique; 
she must also be the champion of a faith that could contend on equal 
terms with a Modern Western Liberalism; and she must not be content 
simply to preserve in its pristine purity, within a Holy Russian citadel, 
the distinctive faith to which she was to dedicate herself; she must enter 
into active competition with the Western faith of Liberalism in that 
literally world-wide mission-field which the Modern West had created by 
knitting together the whole habitable and traversable surface of the 
Earth in a Western-manufactured net-work of communications and 
commerce. Russia must compete with the West for the spiritual allegiance 
of all the living societies that were neither Western nor Russian in their 
native cultural tradition, and—not content even with that—she must 
have the supreme audacity to carry the war into the enemy’s camp by 
preaching the Russian faith in the West’s own homeland. 

Granting the necessity of the strategy outlined in these general terms 
for a Russia who was bent on reasserting herself, the particular faith to 
which a spiritually militant Russia was to attempt to convert the World 
still remained to be found, and this was the point at which the ascendancy 
of the Modern Western culture in the contemporary world revealed its 
strength by driving the Russians into the paradoxical course on which, 
after Lenin’s death, the policy of the Soviet Union was set in conse¬ 
quence of Stalin’s victory over Trotsky. Stalin’s appropriation of the 
international flag of Marxism to serve as a new banner for Russian 
nationalism was a paradox because it was as illogical as it was statesman- 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 135 

like. In logic the question was not an open one at all. The one faith that 
a militant Russia could logically pit against a Modern Western Liberal¬ 
ism was the traditional Russian version of Orthodox Christianity, since 
Russia’s claim to be the sole surviving repository of a perfect Christian 
Orthodoxy constituted her title to be ‘the Third Rome’ who was ‘the 
Heir of the Promise’. To throw over Orthodox Christianity was to throw 
away the credentials on which the whole of her pretension to uniqueness 
rested. Mated with any faith other than this traditional one—and, 
above all, when the substituted novel faith was a creed whose ‘chosen 
People’ was, not the Russian nation, but an international proletariat— 
the pretension was deprived of even that shadow of historical justification 
with which it was covered in the setting of its original associations. On 
the other hand the idea that Russia should attempt to compete for the 
spiritual allegiance of Mankind against a Modern Western Liberalism 
in the name of a traditional Orthodox Christianity had only to be 
formulated in order to put itself out of court by the glaring obviousness 
of its impracticability. Manifestly that cock would not fight in a twentieth- 
century oecumenical cockpit. By that date the World was already so far 
Westernized that the one hope of challenging the prevailing liberal 
Western ideological orthodoxy lay in pitting against it an ideological 
heresy that was likewise of Western origin; and for this militant Russian 
purpose the Marxian ideology was particularly well suited 1 in nvo ways. 

In the first place Marxism was a Western ‘futurist’ criticism of a 
latter-day industrial form of Modern Western life which the Western 
Romantic Movement had attacked from an ‘archaistic’ angle; 1 and a 
Wenticth-ccntury Russian Communist adaptation of this Western vein 
of Futurism promised to be a more effective move than a nineteenth- 
century Russian Slavophil adaptation of Romanticism had proved to be, 
since Futurism was intrinsically a more positive line of attack than 
Archaism was against an established dispensation. Marxism was thus a 
telling ideological weapon for a militant Russia to adopt for use on a 
world-wide spiritual arena; and, in the second place, it was likely to 
minister to Russia’s other purpose—which was a prior need—of holding 
her own against the West in the mastery of a Modern Western techno¬ 
logy; for Marxism exalted the economic factor in life above all others 
and would therefore be an apt instrument for serving its Russian users’ 
purpose in the domestic field, where their task was to drive a traditionally 
un-cconomic-minded Russian people into catching up with their 
Western contemporaries, by forced marches, in a technological race in 
which the Westerners had a long start and in which the stakes of the 
event were life and death. These practical arguments in favour of sub¬ 
stituting Marxism for Orthodox Christianity 1 as the faith to which 

« The Russians’ adoption of the Marxian Western heresy as their weapon for assailing 
the Western orthodoxy of the src may be compared with the Safawis’ adoption of Imimi 
Shi'ism as their weapon for assailing the Sunnism that was the orthodox version of 
Islam in the Iranic World of Shah Ismi'il's generation (see I. i. 359 -b 5 )> The choice of 
weapon was in both cases adroit without being cynical, because in both cases the motive 
was subconscious. 

* For Archaism and Futurism, see V. vi. 49-132. 

* This adoption of an alien atheistic and materialist philosophy as a psychological 
substitute for a native religion had a precedent in the hardly less strange transformation 


136 encounters between contemporaries 

Russia was to pin her pretension to be the heir to a unique destiny out¬ 
weighed the academic consideration that the pretension itself logically 
fell to the ground with the repudiation of its traditional religious founda¬ 
tion, while the flagrancy of this betrayal of tradition and logic at the 
dictation of raison d'ttat showed how near the Modern Western Civiliza¬ 
tion had already come to captivating the contemporary world, Russia 
included, by the time when the Russian Communists raised their horn. 

The Race between the West's Technological Advance and Russia's Techno¬ 
logical Westernization 

The practical choice between the three theoretically alternative 
Russian reactions to the aggression of the Modern West was not, of 
course, ever decided by an academic debate* in the style of the discussion 
of the respective merits of Democracy, Oligarchy, and Monarchy which 
Herodotus puts into the mouths of Darius and his fellow assassins in 
the political vacuum which they had created by their success in murder- 

3 Smcrdis. 2 The Russian choice was made, for the most part, un- 
ectivcly and unselfconsciously, from hand to mouth, in improvised 
responses to successive Western challenges in the crude form of aggres¬ 
sive military attacks, and, on this analysis, the encounter between 
Russia and the Modern West presented itself as a drama in which, down 
to the time of writing, one plot had been recurring in successive perform¬ 
ances. The initial event in this recurrent plot was a sensational Western 
military success at Russia’s expense which was patently accounted for 
by the West’s technological superiority at the time; the second event was 
an effort on Russia’s part to save her independence by mastering the 
technique of the West up to the contemporary level at which it had 
vindicated itself in Western hands so dangerously from Russia’s stand¬ 
point; the third event was a fresh ordeal by battle in which Russia 
demonstrated, by successfully repulsing another Western attack, that 
she had achieved her own latest technological objective; the fourth 
event was a sensational fresh advance in Western technology which rang 
up the curtain for a fresh performance of the drama by confronting 
Russia, all over again, with a problem which, in the outgoing act, she 
had solved ad hoc without (as now appeared) having succeeded in solving 
it permanently. 1 

In Russian history 4 the first performance of this repetitive drama was 

of a Primitive Buddhist philosophy into the Mahayana in the course of its passage from 
India to the Far East. 

1 The nearest approach to this was the Marxian theological warfare—in which texts 
from Marx’s, Engels’, and Lenin’s canonical works were hurled from both sides as missile 
weapons—that was an accompaniment of the struggle between Stalin and Trotsky, after 
Lenin's death, for control over the Soviet Government. 

2 See Herodotus, Book III, chaps. 80-83. 

J See Annex I, pp. 674-5, below. 

4 While the Russo-Western heat was the classical instance of a race between the 
Modem West’s technological advance and a contemporary non-Wcstem society’s 
technological Westernization, Russia was not the only non-Western society in this age 
that was goaded into running this race by a recurring threat from a perpetually advancing 
Western competitor. 

'The greatest danger to the independent strength and freedom of initiative of a nation 
like China (or Turkey) which is making an effort to adapt itself to the standards of the 
West is that it thereby admits, at least by implication, the superior authority of the 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 137 
opened by the first establishment of contact between Russia and the 
Modem West at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of 
the Christian Era and was closed in 1812 by the victory of a Russia 
that had been Westernized by Peter the Great over a Napoleon who was 
the greatest Modern Western soldier up to date. 

At the beginning of this performance the Russians were hardly yet 
aware of the existence of ‘the Western Question’; and, on the strength 
of the political union of Novgorod with Muscovy, and of a casual adop¬ 
tion of a few military applications of the Modem Western technolog)' 
of the day, such as the use of fire-arms, Tsar Ivan IV rashly provoked 
his Western neighbours by attempting to win for his united Russia a 
broader frontage on the Baltic coast through the conquest of the inter¬ 
vening marches of the Western World. A facile initial success against the 
already disintegrating regime of the Teutonic Order in the Baltic 
Provinces brought Ivan into collision with Sweden and Lithuania, and 
the ensuing trial of strength demonstrated the West’s contemporary 
military superiority over Russia. So far from succeeding in extending 
Russia's frontage on the Baltic, Ivan found himself compelled to cede to 
Sweden even the strip of coastline at the head of the Gulf of Finland 
which the Muscovite Empire had inherited from the Republic of 
Novgorod; this discomfiture of Muscovy in the war of a.d. 1558-S3 was 
followed by the Polono-Lithuanian occupation of Moscow in a.d. 1610- 
12;' and, though, as between Russia and Poland-Lithuania, the eventual 
balance of territorial gains and losses in this round of warfare was in 
Russia’s favour, 2 it was not to her advantage in her account with 
Sweden, 1 while the true measure of the relative strengths of Russia and 
her Western adversaries was given, not by any fluctuations in frontiers, 
but by the constant ability of sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century 
Western armies to defeat contemporary Russian armies in the field. 

This alarming experience of the inadequacy of native Russian military 

West; with the result that, by the time it has mastered Westernization as a thing com¬ 
plete in itself, the West proper, whose Westernism is a living force informed with growth 
and activity, has progressed spontaneously to a further point—with the result that the 
nation striving for adaptation, having once admitted the authority of the alien standard, 
finds itself still chronologically in arrears and accordingly restricted in the faculty of 
initiative. Even in a nation like Japan, where the process of Westernizing was less an 
adaptation than a transformation, a genuine phenomenon of rebirth, the effects of this 
chronological handicap can very definitely be traced’ (Lattimore, Owen: Manchuria, 
Cradle of Conflict (New York 1931, Macmillan), pp. 154-5). 

1 See II. ii. 176. 

1 In A.D. 1654 the Ukrainian Cossacks (see II. ii. 154-7) transferred their nominal 
allegiance from Poland to Muscovy; in a.d. 1667 Muscovy acquired Smolensk and Kiev 
from Poland-Lithuania by the Peace Treaty of Andrusovo; in a.d. 1686 these territorial 
terms were confirmed in an ‘Eternal Peace' between the two Powers. 

> The terms of the Russo-Swedish peace treaty concluded at Stolbovo in a.d. 1617 
re-enacted those of the treaty of a.d. 1583 by reinstating Sweden in the possession of 
even the atrip of originally Russian coastline, at the head of the Gulf of Finland, which 
Russia had momentarily recovered from Sweden in the peace treaty concluded at 
Tyavzhin in A.D. IS95, so that Russia found herself once again completely barred out 
from access to the Baltic Sea. Even the distant English toyed, in a.d. 1612-13, with a 
project for the acquisition of at least the north of Russia by the British Crown which 
was submitted by a Scottish soldier. Captain Thomas Chamberlain, who had served 
in a force of West European mercenaries sent in a.d. 1609 by the Swedish Govern¬ 
ment to the Tsar Vasilii Shuisky (see Lubimenko, Inna: ‘A Project for the Acquisition 
of Russia by James I\ in The English Historical Review, vol. xxix (London 1914, Long¬ 
mans Green), pp. 246-56). 



138 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
technique in warfare with Russia’s Modern Western neighbours was a 
challenge which found its response in the Petrine ‘Herodian’ revolution. 1 
Peter the Great’s first objective was to Westernize Russia’s armed forces, 
on sea and land, up to the contemporary Western standard of efficiency; 
to achieve this, he had also to Westernize Russian technology and public 
administration; this in turn required provision for the higher education 
of experts and officials up to the Western standard of the day; and Peter, 
being a man of genius and vision, extended these minimum necessary 
measures to embrace a comprehensive Westernization of a diluted 
Muscovite nobility. 2 The success of this Petrine policy was foreshadowed 
by Peter’s own victory, in a.d. 1709, over a rash Swedish invader of the 
Ukraine, 3 and was demonstrated, eighty-seven years after Peter’s death, 
when, in a.d. 1812, the Petrine Russian Empire brought to the ground a 
French aggressor who had proved more than a match for all his Western 
continental adversaries during the preceding fifteen years, and who was 
invading Russia at the head of the united military forces of Continental 
Western Europe. 

The Napoleonic French Grand Army was a Western military instru¬ 
ment of a vastly higher calibre than the Polish expeditionary force which, 
two hundred years earlier, had anticipated the French in the fatal feat of 
momentarily occupying Moscow; and, after dividing with Great Britain 
the honours of overthrowing Napoleon, Petrine Russia emerged from 
this ordeal as the leading continental Power and pushed her western 
continental frontiers so far westward as to include within them the 
native Western province of ‘Congress Poland’. The post-Napoleonic 
era saw a superficially Westernized Russia standing on a pinnacle of 
apparent ascendancy; yet this appearance was already an illusion; for 
the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars of a.d. 1793-1815 were the last 
Western wars on the grand scale that were fought with the pre-industrial 
Western technique. By a.d. 1812 the Industrial Revolution was already 
in full swing in England; and, though, in the Crimean War (gerebatur 
a.d. 1853-6), Russia was still able to fight her Western adversaries on 
more or less equal technological terms thanks to the conservatism of 
contemporary French and British professional military minds, in the 
seventh decade of the nineteenth century the American Civil War 
(gerebatur a.d. 1861-5) and a Bismarckian Prussia’s three wars of aggres¬ 
sion (gerebantur a.d. 1864, *866, 1870-1) saw the new industrial tech¬ 
nique at last duly applied to warfare by Western Powers; 4 and in the 
nineteenth century, as in the sixteenth century, Russia was caught nap¬ 
ping by a sudden sensational advance in her Western neighbours’ 
military technique. 

1 A summary of Peter the Great’s work has been given in III. iii. 278-83. 

* See VI. vii. 358, 360, and 361. 

i Peter’s decisive victory over Charles XII in a.d. 1709 at Poltava, which had been 
preceded by the conquest of Ingermanland, Narva, and Dorpat in a.d. 1701-4, was 
followed in A.D. 1710 by the conquest of Karelia, Estland, Livland, and Riga. Peter’s 
recognition that, in acquiring for Muscovy this frontage on the Baltic Sea, he had 
achieved for her in his twenty-onc-ycars-long war (gerebatur a.d. 1700-21) what Ivan IV 
had been seeking to achieve for her in his twenty-six-ycars-long war (gerebatur a.d. 
1558-83) was expressed in the pageantrv of his triumphal entry into Moscow after 
the conclusion of peace in a.d. 1721 (see Sumner, Peter the Great and the Emergence of 
Russia, p. 202). . « See IV. iv. 151-2. 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 139 

Once again, Russia rather casually adopted a few elements of the new 
Western technical apparatus. In employing, for example, the device of 
conquering a desert by building a railway, the Russians in Transcaspia 1 
were ahead of the British in the Sudan; but, when, in the Russo- 
Japanese War of a.d. 1904-5, a still no more than Petrine Russia pitted 
her eighteenth-century Western armaments against the nineteenth- 
century western armaments of a Post-Tokugawan Japan, she proved to 
be a colossus with feet of clay; and, when, undeterred by this warning, 
she ventured, ten years later, to measure her strength against Germany's 
in the General War of a.d. 1914-18, the colossus collapsed. This shatter¬ 
ing experience of the inadequacy of the Petrine dispensation for enabling 
Russia to hold her own in an industrialized world was the challenge to 
which the Communist Marxian revolution was the response. The 
Petrine regime had been all but overwhelmed by the abortive revolution 
of a.d. 1905, which had been the Russian people's reaction to the Petrine 
Russian Empire’s defeat by Japan. The utter disaster of a.d. 1914-18, 
and its remorseless revelation of the extreme industrial backwardness 
which had made it inevitable, brought the Bolsheviks into power and at 
the same time determined their programme. 

This programme was presented by Stalin in uncompromisingly 
drastic language in a speech on the tasks of business executives delivered 
at the First All-Union Conference of Managers of Socialist Industry on 
the 4th February, 1931, 2 in the early days of his inter-war drive to 
raise the technological efficiency of the Soviet Union to a new level. 

‘The main thing is to have the passionate Bolshevik desire to master 
technique, to master the science of production ... It is sometimes asked 
whether it is not possible to slow down the tempo a bit... No! ... On 
the contrary, we must increase it as much as is within our powers and 
possibilities. ... To slacken the tempo would mean falling behind; and 
those who fall behind get beaten....’ 

The imperative necessity for these superhuman exertions which he 
was demanding of the people of the Soviet Union was driven home in 
Stalin’s next words in this speech by an appeal to the lessons of Russian 
history. 

‘One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beating she 
suffered for falling behind, for her backwardness. She was beaten by the 
Mongol khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by 
the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian 
gentry. She was beaten by the British and French capitalists. She was 
beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her—for her backwardness: for 
military backwardness, for cultural backwardness, for political backward¬ 
ness, for industrial backwardness, for agricultural backwardness. She was 
beaten because to do so was profitable and could be done with impunity.... 

‘Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its in¬ 
dependence? If you do not want this, you must put an end to its back¬ 
wardness in the shortest possible time and develop genuine Bolshevik 
tempo in building up its socialist system of economy .... We are fifty or a 

* See V. v. 323. n. 3, and d. 30, above. 

1 English text in Stalin, Joseph: Leninism (London 1940, Allen and Unwin), pp. 
359-67- 



i 4 o ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this 
distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us.’ 

On the 4th May, 1935, when the urgency of Stalin’s technological 
programme had been pointed by Hitler’s advent to power in Germany 
and by his overt rearmament of the Third Reich, Stalin drove his 
argument home in an address delivered in the Kremlin to the graduates 
from the Red Army academies. 1 

‘We inherited from the past a technically backward, impoverished, and 
ruined country. Ruined by four years of imperialist war, and ruined again 
by three years of civil war, a country with a semi-literate population, with 
a low technical level, with isolated industrial oases lost in a sea ot dwart 
peasant farms—such was the country we inherited from the past. I he 
task was to transfer this country from mediaeval darkness to modern 
industry and mechanised agriculture. ... The question that confronted 
us was: Either we solve this problem in the shortest possible time, and 
consolidate Socialism in our country - , or we do not solve it, in w - hich case 
our country—weak technically and unenlightened in the cultural sense- 
will lose its independence and become a stake in the game of the imperial¬ 
ist powers.’ 

The dose of Westernization that was administered to Russia by the 
Bolsheviks differed from Peter’s dose in its application. The provinces 
of Russian life which it affected were a smaller part of the total field; for, 
whereas Peter had set out to Westernize almost everything in the life of a 
diluted and expanded Muscovite nobility, the Bolsheviks rigidly con¬ 
fined their attentions to the province of technology, where they started 
an intensive course of industrialization, and the province of ideology, in 
which they sought to substitute a Marxian for a Christian orthodoxy. 
Yet, if they did not range as widely as Peter over the surface of Russian 
life, they made up for this by digging down far deeper below the surface 
within the limited area to which they restricted their operations; and in 
this difference in their Westernizing tactics they were faithfully reflecting 
a change which had overtaken Western life itself, between Peter the 
Great’s generation and theirs, as a result of the eruption of the two 
elemental forces of Industrialism and Democracy. 2 

The drive imparted by these forces had made mass-action a condition 
of efficiency; and this portentous new ‘totalitarianism’, which was as 
foreign to the bourgeois as it had been to the aristocratic native Western 
tradition, was accepted wholeheartedly, and imposed without qualms, 
by Russian Communists whose assumption of a Marxian heretical 
Western costume could not erase from their Russian hearts and minds 
the impress of deeply ingrained Orthodox Christian political habits, 
however vehemently their Marxian wills might have repudiated the 
Orthodox Christian tradition. As heirs, malgrS eux, of an Orthodox 
Christian cultural heritage, they could not find the principle of ‘totali¬ 
tarianism’ either unfamiliar or shocking; for, in evoking a ghost of the 
Roman Empire and subjecting the Orthodox Church to this resuscitated 
Hellenic universal state, the main body of the Orthodox Christian Society 

» English text in Sulin, op. cit., pp. 54 ®-S- 1 S «« 1V - iv - » 4 «“ 8 s- 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 141 
had forged a despotic institution of high potency;' and in the Russian 
offshoot of Orthodox Christendom a comparable engine of despotism— 
‘heavy as frost and deep almost as life’ 2 —had been constructed, since 
the fourteenth century of the Christian Era, in Muscovy and her succes¬ 
sor the Petrine Russian Empire—a Russian state of which the Soviet 
Union was the heir. J 

The second bout in the dramatic encounter between Russia and the 
Modern West accomplished its repetition of the plot of the play within 
a much shorter span of time than the first bout had taken to illustrate 
the same motif. An interval of no less than two centuries had separated 
the Polish military occupation of Moscow in a.d. 1610-12, which had 
been the ultimate stimulus of the Petrine Revolution, from the defeat of 
Napoleon in a.d. 1812 which had been its final vindication, while there 
was an interval of no more than thirty years between the German victory 
over a Petrine Russia in a.d. 19x5, which was the genesis of the Soviet 
regime, and the Soviet Union’s victory over Germany in a.d. 1945, by 
which the Communist Revolution was vindicated in its generation. 

This acceleration—which was perhaps to be explained as one of the 
effects of a Western process of mechanization on the life of a Westerniz¬ 
ing World—was as evident in the sequel to the second performance of 
the Russo-Western tragedy as it was in this second performance’s con¬ 
summation. After her triumph in a.d. 1812 the Petrine Russian Empire 
had at any rate enjoyed half a century free from care before it had become 
apparent that the Western World had for the second time stolen a march 
on Russia by making an advance in technology that had once again 
revolutionized the art of war. In a.d. 1945, the duration of the Soviet 
Government’s rest-cure in a fool’s paradise was limited, by a rocket- 
swift Zeitgeist, to a period of ninety' days. Germany had capitulated on 
the 8th May, 1945; on the 6th August of the same year the first atomic 
bomb was dropped by the Americans on Japan; and, from that latter 
date onwards till the time of writing, Russia was again in the presence 
of the same problem that had confronted her after the disaster of a.d. 
1915 and the disaster of a.d. 1610-12. In the never-ending technological 
race between Russia and her Western sister, the West had again forged 
ahead of Russia so far as to leave her militarily at the mercy of her 
Western contemporaries unless and until she could catch up again with 
her formidable competitors for the third time, as she had succeeded in 
catching up with them twice before. 


The Soviet Union's Encounter with the United States 


While this technico-military issue was still on the knees of the Gods, 
it was already apparent on the political plane that, if the empire which 
the Grand Duke Ivan III of Muscovy had brought into being by annex¬ 
ing Novgorod to his dominions in the eighth decade of the fifteenth 
century was to be diagnosed as a Russian universal state, this polity had 
been kept alive beyond its natural expectation of life by the galvanic 
effect of the impact of the Modern West, as an expiring ‘Middle 


« See IV. iv. 3 20-408 and X. ix. 15. 

1 Wordiworth: Ode on Intimations of Immortality. 


J See pp. 676-8, below. 



142 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Empire’ of Egypt had been reanimated by the impact of the Hyksos, and 
an expiring 'New Empire’ by the impact of ‘the Sea Peoples’. 

On the analogy of the histories of universal states which had run their 
course without this being appreciably affected by the play of external 
forces, the Muscovite Russian Empire might have been expected to have 
lapsed into anarchy, achieved a recovery, and eventually collapsed 
irretrievably about four hundred years from the date of its original 
establishment; and symptoms of all these three characteristic experi¬ 
ences in a universal state’s normal history duly present themselves in 
this Russian case. The temporary lapse into anarchy is represented by 
the rough passage which the Russians themselves had named ‘the Time 
of Troubles’ ( instabat a.d. 1604-12)-, 1 the recover}' by the rally under 
the new regime of the Romanov Dynasty; 2 and the eventual collapse by 
the adversity into which the Romanov Empire fell in the course of the 
thirty-six years beginning with the assassination of Tsar Alexander II 
in a . d . 1881 and ending with the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in a . d . 
1917.* If the tragedy had played itself out to the end in conformity with 
the conventional plot, this last act would have seen the empire that had 
been founded by Ivan III and been enlarged by his successors fall to 
pieces into a number of parochial successor-states of barbarian or 
indigenous origin; and, after the Bolshevik Revolution of a.d. 1917, 
there were symptoms of this characteristic denouement likewise. At 
this stage, however, the tendency for events to take their typical course 
was overborne by a more powerful current making for the rehabilitation 
of the foundered universal state in a new shape. 

Between a.d. 1917 and a.d. 1922 4 all the momentarily dislocated frag¬ 
ments of the former Russian Empire, except a splinter of Transcaucasia 5 
and a belt of border territories on the Empire’s western fringe, whose 
populations were Westerners in their culture, were reintegrated under 
the rule of a single indigenous successor-state which assumed, on the 
30th December, 1922, the title of a ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’; 
and thereafter, as a result of the outcome of the General War of a.d. 
1 939 “ 45 > the Soviet Union not only recovered the lost western dominions 
of the Romanov Empire but imposed its political ascendancy over Con¬ 
tinental European territories still farther to the west, up to a line which 
the Romanov Empire had never approached—not even at the zenith of 
its military and political power in a.d. 1814-15. 6 

« See I. i. S 3 , n. 2; II. ii. 157 and 176; IV. iv. 90 and 91-92; V. v. 311, n. 2; V. vi. 
19s, n. 2, and 311. 

1 Sec V. vi. 212. > See V. vi. 311, n. 3. 

* On the 14th November, 1922, the reunification of the non-Wcstem territories form¬ 
erly embraced in the Russian Empire was completed by the merger of the Far Eastern 
Republic in the Socialist Federal Soviet Republic of Great Russia. 

l Consisting of the districts of Qars and Ardahan and a portion of the district of 
Batum (excluding the port ar.d town of Batum itself), which had been definitively retro¬ 
ceded to Turkey in a.d. 1921. 

6 In A.D. 1945 «he western frontier of the Soviet Union itself still embraced less terri¬ 
tory inhabited by Westerners than had been included within the western frontier of the 
Romanov Empire in A.D. 1914; for, while the Soviet Union had now reannexed to 
Russia the three inter-war republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Soviet Lithuania 
overlapped with no more than the north-eastern comer of the former Romanov dominion 
of ‘Congress Poland’, and only a fraction of the former Romanov dominion of Finland 
—the Karelian Isthmus—had been reannexed from the inter-war Finnish Republic. On 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 143 

This Phocnix-like resurrection of a Romanov Empire in the shape of 
the Soviet Union with its glacis of satellite states was the response of an 
obstinately persisting Russian will to independence in face of a menace 
of extinction which had never been more acute than when, on the 
morrow of the General War of a.d. 1914-18, a prostrate Russia’s 
recent Western or Westernized allies—France, Great Britain, the 
United States, and Japan—had followed suit to her recent Western 
adversary Germany in invading her by force of arms in military opera¬ 
tions which, in Russian eyes, were not acquitted of being aggressive in 
virtue of their being professedly undertaken with the object of putting 
back a non-Communist Russian regime into the saddle. The cumulative 
effect of the German military invasion of Russia in and after a.d. 1915, 
the inter-ally military invasion of Russia in and after a.d. 1918, and the 
renewed German military invasion of Russia in and after a.d. 1940 had 
been to conjure back into being a Russian polity which was not merely 
an unseasonable avatar of a time-expired Russian universal state but 
was one of two super-great Powers in a Westernizing World, now co¬ 
extensive with the whole surface of the planet, in whose political 
articulation the number of Powers of the highest calibre had been re¬ 
duced to two from eight in the course of thirty-one years (a.d 1914-45) 
as a result of two world wars in one life-time. 

What were to be the Soviet Union’s role and fate in the next chapter 
of the history of Russia’s encounter with the West ? The geographical 
configuration of human affairs on the morrow of the World War of a.d. 
1939-45 might appear to portend the approach of a climax in the history, 
not only of the Russian and the Western civilizations, but of a species of 
society—Civilization itself—which, by that date, had been in existence 
for some five or six thousand years and whose living representatives 
were civilizations of the third generation. 

The Soviet Union and the United States, whose gigantic forms now, 
between them, overshadowed the political landscape, and whose rival 
championship of two competing ideologies was gathering the whole of 
Mankind into two opposing spiritual camps, displayed a resemblance to 
one another which was not confined to the external point of their com¬ 
mon pre-eminence over all their contemporaries in their order of material 
magnitude; they also possessed in common the more intimate feature of 
being planted, both alike, on culturally new ground, and of experiencing 
the stimulus which the conquest of new ground is apt to bring with it. 1 

the other hand the Soviet Union had compensated itself for its comparative moderation 
in rcannexing populations of Western culture by establishing its political ascend¬ 
ancy over a team of satellite Western states whose territories covered, between them, 
not only the unannexed major part of Finland, but the whole of Continental Eastern 
Europe between the new western frontier of the Soviet Union and a line running 
approximately south and north from the northern flank of the Austrian Alps to the 
southern shore of the Baltic Sea. Within this area, in a.d. 1952, the Soviet Union was 
effectively dominant over a post-war Poland covering the whole area in which a majority 
of the population was Polish in nationality, sa well as a strip of formerly German- 
inhabited territory between the Polish-inhabited area and the Oder-Neisse line; over a 
zone of Germany, west of the Oder, surrounding Berlin; over a zone of Austria, surround¬ 
ing Vienna; and over Czechoslovakia and Hungary, besides Rumania, Bulgaria, and 
Albania. At that date it remained to be seen whether the Soviet Union would succeed 
in reasserting ita ascendancy over a dissident Communist Jugoslavia and in bringing a 
compliant Communist regime into power in Greece. 1 See II. ii. 73-100. 



144 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

The territory of the United States had been culturally virgin soil, save 
for a fringe of the Mexic Civilization’s former cultural domain in the 
upper basin of the Rio Grande, before trans-oceanic colonists from 
Western Europe had begun to take possession of it in the seventeenth 
century of the Christian Era; and the territory of the Soviet Union and 
its satellites' was comparatively new ground likewise. Apart from the 
Oxus-Jaxartes Basin and Transcaucasia, hardly any of it had ever been 
occupied by any sedentary civilization before the turn of the tenth and 
eleventh centuries of the Christian Era; the Russian occupation of the 
Donetz, Don, Lower Volga, Urals, and Siberia had not begun till the 
sixteenth century of the Christian Era, when Muscovy had embarked on 
an eastward and south-eastward expansion overland that was not in¬ 
comparable in scale with the contemporary expansion of the maritime 
peoples of Western Europe overseas; and, as one consequence of the 
intensive industrialization of the Soviet Union, the centre of gravity of 
its economic life had latterly been shifting more and more out of the 
original homeland of the Russian Civilization in the North-East 
European forests into these recently occupied territories which had been 
Nomad’s land or Primitive Man’s preserve before Russian enterprise 
had opened them up as fresh fields for the cultivation of a different way 
of life. 

While the Soviet Union and the United States were both thus laid 
out on recently virgin soil, they confronted one another across a belt of 
territories embracing all the rest of the domains, in the Old World, of all 
the living civilizations of Old-World origin and the entire domains of 
all these living civilizations’ predecessors of earlier generations. This 
political and ideological no-man’s-land enveloped the Old World’s 
Soviet heartland like an immense crescent-shaped festoon with its 
extremities in the high latitudes of Northern Japan and Scandinavia 
and with its bow sagging down below the Equator in Indonesia. 2 This 
zone contained the Japanese offshoot and the Chinese main body of the 
Far Eastern Civilization; the Tantric Mahayanian fossils of the extinct 
Indie Civilization in Mongolia and Tibet; the Hinayanian fossils of the 
same extinct civilization in Cambodia, Siam, Burma, and Ceylon; the 
Hindu Civilization; the Islamic Civilization from its eastern outposts 
in the Southern Philippines and Western China to its western outposts 
on the Atlantic coast of Africa; the main body of Orthodox Christendom 
in South-Eastern Europe; and the European homeland of the Western 
Civilization. 

Each of the mansions occupied by these divers bodies social had a 
continental back door accessible from the Soviet heartland of the Old 
World and a maritime front door accessible from the Americas across 
the Ocean. They were thus all open to simultaneous and competitive 
penetration by the two colossi that were bestriding a post-Hitlerian 
World; and, impotent though their tenants were to hold their own, 
should occasion arise, against either of their two gigantic neighbours, 
their existence was nevertheless the key to the balance of political power, 
since this balance could hardly fail to incline decisively in favour of the 

1 Sec xi, map. 49. * See XII. ix. 488-9, and xi, map 65. 




THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 145 

giant, whichever of the two it might be, who should succeed in drawing 
into his own camp a majority of these denizens of an intervening 
no-man’s-land whose bodies were to be the prizes of a political and ideo¬ 
logical tug-o’-war. 

On the precedent of comparable conjunctures in the histories of other 
civilizations, this political situation in a Westernizing World on the 
morrow of a Second World War might be read to mean that the Western 
Civilization had now arrived at a stage in a losing battle against disinte¬ 
gration at which it was on the eve of entering into a universal state, and 
that a third world war was the crushingly heavy price that Destiny was 
going to exact for the barren opportunity of achieving this abortive 
rally. 1 Whatever may have been the current expectations of the rulers 
of the Soviet Union and their subjects, there were certainly many people 
in the Western World at this time who were fatalistically foreboding a 
third world war in which the United States and the Soviet Union would 
be the respective principals, and from which a literally world-wide 
universal state would arise through the elimination, vi et armis , of one 
or other of these two remaining Great Powers. If that was in truth Man¬ 
kind’s unescapable destiny, this would mean that the Bolsheviks had 
achieved their tour de force of resuscitating the Russian Empire at the 
cost of condemning it to hazard its existence on a venture that must 
issue in either world power or downfall. As a result of a third world 
war, should this calamity overtake Mankind, it would seem that the 
Soviet Union must either win the invidiously brilliant distinction of 
providing a reluctant Western World with an alien universal state such 
as the ‘Osmanlis had imposed on the main body of Orthodox Christen¬ 
dom, and the Mughals and their British successors on the Hindu World, 
or alternatively suffer a disaster that would undo the work of Stalin and 
Lenin and Peter and Ivan III alike by pulverizing this vast body politic 
into fragments smaller than the fifteenth-century Grand Duchy of 
Moscow and Republic of Novgorod whose union had been the Russian 
Empire’s genesis. 

Was one or other of these extreme alternative denouements inevitable ? 
At the time of writing, it would have been wilful blindness to ignore the 
signs pointing to a third world war as the line of least resistance for a 
world whose ability to be master of its own destiny was manifestly at 
this time an open question. At the same time it would have been wanton 
‘defeatism’ to discount other, perhaps not less convincing, signs of the 
times which suggested that a shatteringly Wagnerian overture might 
resolve itself into a prosaically Benthamite anticlimax. 

While it was certain, in the minds of Western observers, that the 
Americans’ sense of destiny would never tempt them to take the initia¬ 
tive in going to war with the Soviet Union, there was no warrant for 
assuming, on the other hand, that the Russians’ sense of destiny would 
betray the inveterately cautious and deliberate Muscovite political 
chess-players into rushing in where their impulsive American opponents 
feared to tread. Even if the Soviet Government were one day to convince 
itself that, in a perpetually recurring race for the goal of technological 
' These prospects are discussed in XII. ix. 524-36- 


I 4 6 encounters between contemporaries 

efficiency, it had caught up with the United States, as it had once suc¬ 
ceeded in catching up with Germany, this reassuring conviction would 
not necessarily move the Russians to take the offensive. An offensive 
war against an encompassing world of hostile infidels was not com¬ 
mended either by Soviet mythology or by Russian experience. Marxism 
had appropriated the Jewish myth of an inoffensive Chosen People 
which, in a war that it has never sought, is to win a miraculous victory 
against overwhelming odds over a coalition of enemies who have brought 
their doom upon themselves by banding together in the pride of their 
hearts to make an unprovoked assault on Zion. 1 The Russian people had 
thrice experienced the exultation of snatching victory out of defeat in 
fighting on their own ground against apparently irresistible Western 
invaders of Holy Russia, while they had also more than once experi¬ 
enced the humiliation of being checked, or defeated outright, on foreign 
soil by opponents who were not the Russians’ match in numbers or 
resources—as they had been checked by the Turks in Rumelia in the 
Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1877-8, 2 and defeated by the Japanese in 
Manchuria in the Russo-Japanese War of a.d. 1904-5. These considera¬ 
tions suggested that the twentieth-century tension between the Soviet 
Union and the United States was not bound to result in war in the 
nineteen-fifties, but might alternatively relax without catastrophe, as 
the nineteenth-century tension between the Russian Empire and the 
British Empire had relaxed in the eighteen-eighties. 

If this unapocalyptic denouement were in fact to come to pass, the 
Russian Empire founded by Ivan III and resuscitated by Lenin might 
be expected to survive at a mezzanine altitude of political eminence. 
This messianic ‘Third Rome’ would then find her level as a polity of far 
lower stature than the alien universal state of a forcibly united Western 
World which she would have had to become if she was to have escaped 
destruction in the event of a third world war; but on the other hand she 
would then stand out head and shoulders above the ordinary parochial 
states of a politically still divided Western World, instead of joining their 
ranks in the modest role of an undistinguished recruit for which Mus¬ 
covy had been cast by Peter the Great, and into which the Soviet Union 
had appeared to be lapsing in the nineteen-thirties. 3 In a Westernizing 
World, in which other kingdoms and lands, outside the frontiers of the 
Soviet Union herself and her involuntary satellites, had found security 
against their fear of Soviet attack and Communist penetration by volun¬ 
tarily entering into a free political association with the United States and 
with one another to the extent required for effective common defence 
and common pursuit of material and spiritual welfare, the Soviet Union 
might be expected to play something like the role which the Parthian 
and Kushan Powers had played in the Transeuphratean continental 
hinterland of a Hellenizing World 4 when a ring of maritime countries 
encircling the Mediterranean had been gathered together under the aegis 
of Rome in a Pax Augusta .* 

1 For the Marxist version of this apocalyptic Jewish myth, see V. v. 183. 

* See XII. ix. 512-13. * See V. v. 183-8. * See XII. ix. 528-9. 

5 For the role of the Mediterranean in the human geography of the Roman Empire, 
see VI. vii. 81, ns. X, 2, 3, and 4, and X. ix. 657-62. 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA 147 

The Modem Western Civilization, like the Hellenic, had started life 
as a maritime society and had expanded by seamanship before laying 
iron rails on land; and, in an age when a world that had thus been 
Westernized through the conductive medium of the high seas was 
crystallizing politically round the ocean-girt island of North America, it 
was hardly to be expected that this process would extend very far be¬ 
yond the maritime fringes of the Old World into its land-locked heart¬ 
land, any more than it was to be expected that a land power centred on 
Moscow would ever be able to establish its dominion over the isles of the 
sea. These geographical considerations suggested that, if the habitable 
and traversable surface of the planet were to be unequally divided 
between the whale and the bear in proportions that would leave to the 
bear an inalienable residue of intractably continental territory, the two 
monsters might settle down side by side to live and let live; and, in an 
age of low political and high technological tension, such as this common- 
sense division of the World might be expected to inaugurate, it could be 
forecast that the practical compromises between free enterprise and 
regimentation covered by the rival ideological labels ‘Liberalism* and 
‘Communism’ would gradually become less unlike one another de 
facto , 1 as the rulers of Moscow began to be less tyrannically obsessed 
by fear, while the Western peoples continued to purchase further instal¬ 
ments of technological efficiency 2 and social justice at the inevitable cost 
of further self-imposed restrictions on the freedom of individuals to take 
undue advantage of their neighbours. 

In this unsensationally happy event the historical role of the Com¬ 
munist ideology and the Soviet Union might prove in retrospect, from a 
Western standpoint, to have been that of the Mephistophelian spirit 

Die stets das B6se will und stets das Gute schafft. 1 

An abortive Russian challenge to the captivation of the World by a 
secularized Modern Western Civilization might turn out to have re¬ 
dounded to the benefit of the vast depressed proletarian majority of 
Mankind—the proletarian civilizations and the proletarian lower orders 
in a Westernizing World whose Western makers and managers had 
once reigned, as oecumenical ‘lords of creation’, over a host of ‘Natives’ 4 
and ‘Poor Whites’ amounting to an overwhelming majority of the 
living generation of Mankind. 

In the economically unified but morally still divided world of the 
nineteenth century of the Christian Era, the primitive peasantry of 
Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan, China, Indo-China, Indonesia, India, 
South-West Asia, Egypt, Tropical Africa, and Latin America,* and even 
the urban industrial 'working class’ in North America and Western 
Europe, were living, on the material plane, on a level shockingly far 
below the contemporary level of the North American and West European 
bourgeoisie; and this evil of provocative inequality between sectional 

' On this point, see V. v. 188. . ... 

* Mechanization exacts its price in regimentation, as has been noticed in III. iu. 
20Q-12. See further XII. ix. 563-77-. 

) Goethe: Faust, II. 1335-6. quoted in II. i. 282. 

♦ See I. i. 151-3. 1 Sec Annex I, pp. 684-90, below. 



I 4 8 encounters between contemporaries 

classes, like the twin evil of discord between parochial states, had been 
a malady by which Civilization had been afflicted since the first emerg¬ 
ence of this species of society. Hitherto, Civilization’s marvellous material 
and spiritual fruits had been branded with the mark of Cain; for hitherto 
they had been the monopoly of a privileged minority whose exclusive 
enjoyment of them was a practical repudiation of the human social 
creature’s inalienable obligation to be his brother’s keeper. The obliga¬ 
tion was inalienable because sub-Man had succeeded in becoming 
human only in virtue of having become a social animal first, 1 and this 
sociality was so essential an element in Human Life that the energy and 
genius of even the most active and most gifted individual human being 
would always have remained barren if it had not been brought to harvest 
by the co-operative labours of the strong man’s weaker brethren. 

A privileged minority’s refusal to recognise this elemental truth and 
act upon it had been one cause of the breakdowns and disintegrations of 
civilizations in the course of the first five or six thousand years in the 
history of societies of this species; but, in a world that had been unified 
by the technological prowess of a civilization of the third generation, ‘the 
cornucopia of the engineer’, ‘shaken over all the Earth’ and ‘scattering 
everywhere an endowment of previously unpossessed and unimagined 
capacities and powers’,* had estopped the privileged minority’s tradi¬ 
tional plea that the fruits of Civilization, if they were to be enjoyed at 
all, must be the monopoly of a small fraction of Mankind because the 
productive powers of Civilization were unequal to the task of producing 
enough of these luxuries for distribution to all. By the middle of the 
twentieth century of the Christian Era an Industrial Revolution that, 
by this date, had been gathering momentum for more than 150 years 
had brought within sight a prospect of distributing the fruits of Civiliza¬ 
tion far more widely, at any rate, than had ever been imagined in the 
most utopian dreams in the past—however severely it might tax Nature’s 
resources and Man’s resourcefulness if Mankind were to set itself the 
task of raising the Asiatic coolie’s material standard of living to the level 
already attained by a West European working class, not to speak of a 
North American bourgeoisie. Short of attempting forthwith to fulfil 
such counsels of perfection, there was manifestly a huge interim pay¬ 
ment on account of social justice which a privileged minority already had 
it in its power to make, if it also had the will; and this was the gravamen 
of a Marxian indictment of ‘Capitalism’ which had been taken as the text 
for a Russian denunciation of a secularized Modern Western way of life. 

In thus denouncing the children of a Modern Western ‘ascendancy’ 
for their failure to pay a moral debt up to the progressively expanding 
limits of their capacity to discharge it, Communism was proclaiming in 
a challengingly loud un-Christian voice a commandment of Christ’s 
which, on the Christian Church’s lips, had sunk to a discreetly in¬ 
audible whisper repeated by churchmen under their breath; and, if 
Marxism was nevertheless a heresy from a truly Christian point of view, 
this was because, like most other heresies in their day, it had taken up 
arms on behalf of one grievously neglected Christian truth to the still 

* See I. i. 173. * Sir Alfred Ewing, quoted in III. iii. 2ix. 



THE MODERN WEST AND RUSSIA i 49 
more grievous neglect of this one Christian truth’s Christian setting. 
Through the militancy and the animus of its ideological offensive, 
Communism had deprived itself of any prospect of reconverting a 
privileged minority in the Western World to the social gospel of Christ¬ 
ianity in an anti-Christian dress; but, in the act of thus spiking its own 
guns, it had reopened for Christianity a prospect of reconverting ex- 
Christian Western souls to the Christian gospel in its integrity, including 
its social implications. In ‘the cold war’ which seemed likely to settle the 
World's fate in the current chapter of the World’s history, the decisive 
weight in the scales would be the sufferings of the vast ‘under-privileged’ 1 
majority of the living generation of Mankind, and this multitude of 
suffering human beings might be expected to throw in its lot with 
whichever of the two Powers that were now competing for its allegiance 
gave practical proof that it was carrying out the social gospel of Christ¬ 
ianity de facto. 

In these circumstances, self-interest would counsel a privileged 
minority among a dominant Western fraction of Mankind to discard 
the drill-sergeant’s rod and take up Orpheus’ lyre. 2 This change of 
external insignia, however, would be morally sterile so long as the motive 
for it was one of policy alone; for the Thracian wizard’s instrument 
cannot exert its magic charm unless its music is a genuine expression of 
the feelings in the player’s heart. To achieve its purpose, a calculated 
policy of philanthropy would have to be caught up and carried away by 
a spontaneous outburst of love; and, if the grace of God were to bring 
about this miracle in ex-Christian Western hearts genuinely smitten 
with contrition, and not merely with a self-interested alarm, by the 
hammer strokes of a Communist challenge, then an encounter between 
the Modern Western World and Russia, which had already changed the 
course of Russian history by prolonging the life-span of a time-expired 
Russian universal state, might also change the course of Modern 
Western history by rejuvenating a body social in which the familiar 
symptoms of disintegration had already made their appearance. If this 
encounter were to have this outcome, this might prove to be the opening 
of a wholly new chapter in the history’ of Mankind. 

1 ThU term ‘under-privileged’ was current in an American middle-class vocabulary 
at this time as a euphemistic substitute for the stark word ‘unprivileged’. In American 
mouths ‘under-privileged’ was a less unpalatable term, because it suggested that the 
difference of level was not very- great; that its elimination was already on the agenda; 
and that ‘privilege’ itself was, not an abuse which ought to be abolished, but an objective 
which could and should be attained by Everyman. ‘Under-privileged’ was, however, 
a flagrantly illogical term, considering that the conferment ofa favoured minority’s privi¬ 
leges on member* of a depressed class must still leave a residual depressed majority on 
an implicitly unacceptable lower level or, alternatively, must abolish ‘privilege’ itself 
if the whole, or even only a majority, of this hitherto depressed majority were to be 
brought up to a hitherto privileged minority’s standard. A ‘privilege’ that is shared by 
everybody, or even only by a majority, is a tontradiclio in adjreto, and a psychologist 
would perhaps have deduced from this revealingly illogical American euphemism the 
existence of an unresolved conflict in the souls of middle-class Americans between a 
natural human desire to retain the relatively high standard of living which they were now 
enjoying as members of an invidiously privileged minority and a conscience which must 
reproach itself so long as this stigma of privilege was associated with a standard which, 
in bourgeois American eyes, was justifiable for middle-class Americans in virtue of its 
being a natural and normal human right that, by implication, must be Everyman’s due. 

2 Sec IV. iv. 123-4 13*- 



150 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

2. The Modern West and the Main Body of Orthodox Christendom 

The difference between the Ottoman Orthodox Christian and the Muscovite 
Reaction to the West 

The reception of the Modern Western culture in the main body of 
Orthodox Christendom was coeval with its reception in Russia. In both 
these Orthodox Christian bodies social, this Westernizing movement 
set in towards the close of the seventeenth century of the Christian Era. 
In both cases the movement was a sharp and sudden revulsion from a 
long-sustained and apparently hard-set attitude of hostility towards a 
Western World and Western way of life which Orthodox Christians 
had learnt to detest through a previous experience of the West in 
an encounter with it in the medieval chapter of its history; and, in 
both cases again, one cause of this seventeenth-century psychological 
revolution in Orthodox Christian souls was a no less sharp and sudden 
antecedent psychological change in the West itself-—the inversion of an 
intolerant religious fanaticism into a cynical irreligious tolerance which 
reflected a profound disillusionment in Western souls w’ith the inconclu¬ 
sive political and devastating moral consequences of the Early Modern 
Western domestic Wars of Religion. On the political plane, however, 
these two contemporary and psychologically similar Orthodox Christian 
Westernizing movements followed very different courses. 

This difference was due to a diversity in the political situation in 
which the two sister societies found themselves at the turn of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries, when the modern impact of the West on both 
of them began. At that time, either society was in its universal state; but, 
whereas the Russian Orthodox Christian universal state was an indigen¬ 
ous one that had been brought into being by the Muscovite Grand Duke 
Ivan Ill’s annexation of Novgorod to Muscovy in the eighth decade of 
the fifteenth century, the main body of Orthodox Christendom had had 
its universal state imposed on it by alien Ottoman hands about a hundred 
years earlier; 1 and this difference in the origin and character of the two 
universal states led the two societies to give different political answers 
to the same ‘Western Question’. The seventeenth-century' Russian 
Westernizing movement was evoked, as we have seen, 2 primarily by a 
fear that an indigenous Russian universal state might be overthrown by 
Western Powers who had demonstrated their military superiority in the 
Wars of a.d. 1558-1617; the seventeenth-century Serb and Greek 
Westernizing movements were evoked not by a fear but by a hope that 
an alien Ottoman Empire might be overthrown by Western Powers who 
were demonstrating their military' superiority over the ‘Osmanlis in the 
War of a.d. 1682-99. In Russia a Westernizing movement designed to 
salvage the independence of an existing Russian state was launched from 
above downwards by a cultural revolutionary who was at the same time 
the Tsar and who used his sovereign power to impose Westernization 
on his subjects willy nilly; in the Ottoman Empire, Westernizing move- 

1 The Ottoman dominion over the main body of Orthodox Christendom was effec¬ 
tively established in A.D. 1371-2, when the ‘Osmanlis conquered Macedonia (sec III. 
iii. 26). * On pp. 132-4, above. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 151 

ments that ultimately aspired to recapture political independence for 
Serbs, Greeks, and other subject Orthodox Christian peoples by under¬ 
mining and subverting an existing Ottoman Power were launched from 
below upwards, not by princes performing acts of state, but through the 
private enterprise of non-sovereign individuals and communities. 

The Ottoman Greek Orthodox Christian Phobia of the West 

It may be convenient first to examine the seventeenth-century cul¬ 
tural reorientation of Serb and Greek souls from an Ottoman towards a 
Western qiblah ; then to trace the course of the consequent Westernizing 
movement on the cultural, social, and political planes; and finally to 
consider the eventual effect of Westernization on the relations between 
these non-Russian Orthodox Christian peoples and a Modern Western 
World whose impact had turned their lives also upside down. 

The seventeenth-century revolution in the attitude of Orthodox 
Christians towards the West signified an even greater change in Serb and 
Greek than in Russian hearts if the respective degrees of their previous 
hostility towards the West can be gauged by the respective lengths to 
which they had shown themselves willing to go in sacrificing their other 
interests to an overriding determination not to submit to Western 
ascendancy in its medieval form of an assertion of Papal supremacy on 
the ecclesiastical plane. While the Russian ‘Zealots’ had egged on the 
Greek 'Zealots’ to repudiate the ecclesiastical union of the Eastern 
Orthodox with the Roman Church that had been achieved on paper at 
Florence in a.d. 1439, l ^' s anti-Western intransigence of theirs had cost 
them no appreciable sacrifice, since they had not been confronted, as the 
Greeks had been in this crisis, with the grim prospect of having to pay 
forthwith for their strict ecclesiastical virtue at the exorbitant political 
price of forfeiting the last shreds of their independence to a Turkish 
Muslim conqueror. In the years a.d. 1453-61, which saw Greek rule at 
Constantinople, in the Morea, and at Trebizond extinguished by the 
Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, the Tatar tide was already 
ebbing from the steppe-coast of Muscovy, while, on her opposite 
frontier, the Lithuanian tide was no longer advancing. 1 Thus the 
Russians, unlike the Greeks and Serbs, had not been compelled to 
choose between the Pope’s tiara and the Prophet’s turban; 2 and, if the 
Russians nevertheless found it psychologically difficult to reverse their 

* It had reached its high-water mark in A.D. 1449. and it began to recede in A.D. 1494 
(see Spruncr, K. von, and Menke, Th.: Hand-Allot fur die Getchichte des Mitulalters 
unddrr Ntveren Zcit, 3rd ed. (Gotha 1880, Perthes), plates 69 and 70). 

* See the passage, in Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the 
Roman Empire, chap, lxviii, that has been cited in I. i. 29 and IV. iv. 71. Kpa-rrOstpoy 
ionv elSitoi «V 7$ voXei to ^<uaoAtov' fiaotXevov Tovdkcov yjKahurrrpav Aannxijr, is 
the original Greek of the exclamation ascribed to the Grand Duke Louki* Notoris by 
the Greek historian Dhoiikas: Historia Byzantina, ed. by Bekker, J.^Bonn 1834, Weber), 

f . 264. The corresponding popular catchword was npdrrov iuireottv «‘S X ,! P ai 
ovokuiv n ^payKwv, ibid., p. 291. As early as the twelfth century the same preference 
in face of the same choice had been indicated by the Oecumenical Patriarch Michael 
Ankhfalos (fungebatur a.d. i 160—i i 77) in a passage quoted by Every, G.: The Byzantine 
Patriarchate, 451-1204 (London 1947. S.P.C.h.), pp. 182-3. The vehemence of the 
Orthodox Christians’ anti-Western feeling in the fifteenth century is indicated by the 
fact that such 'slogans’ were current in Constantinople in A.D. 1453 when Mehmed 
the Conqueror was at the gates. 



152 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
attitude towards the West two hundred years later, it must have been 
still more difficult for their contemporary Greek and Serb co-religionists 
to recede from a stand against the West which they had maintained at 
the cost of subjection to Ottoman rule. 

The traditional phobia of the West in Greek Orthodox Christian 
souls did, indeed, die hard. It cost the life of the Westernizing Cretan 
Greek Oecumenical Patriarch Cyril Loukaris (vivebat a.d. 1572-1638; 
munere pairiarchali oecumenico fungebatur aj>. 1620-38), and, some five 
generations later, it was still strong enough to frustrate the intellectual 
labours of the Westernizing Greek humanist Evy&nios Voulgharis (vive¬ 
bat a.d. 1716-1806). 

The Defeat of Cyril Loukaris' 

Lotikaris paid with his life for being the Orthodox Christian pioneer 
in a first attempt to establish communion between the Orthodox Christian 
and the Protestant churches; and his fatal failure to carry his own church 
with him in this ecclesiastical manceuvre is the more remarkable, con¬ 
sidering that Loukaris’ strategic aim was to establish an Orthodox-Protes- 
tant common front against a Roman Catholicism which, in Orthodox 
Christian eyes in Loukaris’ day, was still the classic version of a Western 
schismatic Christianity. 

While Loukaris had been mentally prepared for his role as a Wcstern- 
izer by having received a Western education on Western ground, 2 his 
policy of Westernization in the particular form of an entente with 
Calvinism was the outcome of a mission to Poland-Lithuania on which 
he was sent in a.d. 1596 by his kinsman and patron Meletios Pighds, the 
Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and at that time also Acting Oecumeni¬ 
cal Patriarch of Constantinople. The occasion of this mission was the 
ecclesiastical crisis precipitated by the move, in a.d. 1594, for a union 
of the Orthodox Church in Poland-Lithuania with the Roman Church 3 
on the terms agreed at Florence in a.d. 1439. One motive for this move 
was the political problem that would have been created for the Kingdom 
of Poland-Lithuania by the transfer of these Orthodox Christian subjects 
of a Western state from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Oecumenical 
Patriarchate of Constantinople, under which they had remained hitherto, 
to that of the autocephalous Patriarchate of Moscow, 4 newly established 
in a.d. 1589, 5 which styled itself ‘the Patriarchate of all Russia’, and 
whose incumbent was a political subject of the Tsar of Muscovy. 6 

1 Sec Meyer, Ph., a.v. ‘Lukaris, Kyrillos*. in Herzog, J. J., and Hauck, A.: Real- 
encyklopsdiefur Protestantische Theologie und Kirche, vol. xi (Leipzig 1902, Hinrichs), 
Dp. 6S2-90; Rhenium, M.: KvpiXXos Aovnapir, 6 Oixovuenxoi harpidpx^i (Athens 1859, 
Mavrommiitis); Pichler, A.: DerPatriarch Cyrillus Lukaris undseineZeit (Munich 1862, 
Lcntner (Stahl)); Mettctal, A.: Eludes Hisloviques sur le Palriareht Cyrille Lucar (Stras¬ 
bourg 1869, Silbermann). Two hundred and sixteen documents concerning Lodkaris’ 
life and tenets will be found in Lcgrand, E.: Bibliographic HelUnique, ou Description 
Rais on nee des Outrages Publiis par des Crecs au Dvc-seplieme Siiele (Paris 1894-1903, 
Picard (vol*. i-iv) and Maisonneuve (vol. v)), vol. iv, pp. 175-521. 

1 See p. 171, below. J Sec p. r28, above. 

4 See Pichler, A.; Der Patriarch Cyrillus Lukaris undseine Zeit (Munich r862, Lent- 
ner), p. 54. _ _ » See VI. vii. 34-35. 

6 The distance of Russia from Constantinople had made it possible (see pp. 676-7, 
below) for Russian princes to accept, without having to fear any awkward political conse¬ 
quences in practice, an ecclesiastical j urisdiction which was felt to be an intolerable poli tical 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 153 

Lorikaris was posted in a.d. 1596 to the rectorship of the Orthodox 
monastery at Vilna in order to act as Meletios’s unofficial observer,' 
and he was Meletios’s official exarch in Poland from July 1599 to 
March 1601. 2 He was present 1 at the anti-Uniate Orthodox synod at 
Brest in a.d. 1596, 4 and at a joint synod of the Orthodox and Protestant 
churches of Poland-Lithuania which opened at Vilna on the 15th May, 
1599.5 This attempt at an Orthodox-Protestant union on Polish- 
Lithuanian soil broke down, in spite of the incentive of a common 
menace in the shape of the Counter-Reformation, owing to an insistence, 
on the Orthodox side, that the Protestants should accept the Oecumeni¬ 
cal Patriarch’s ecclesiastical supremacy; 6 yet this diplomatic failure 
neither checked Loukaris’ ecclesiastical career nor deterred him from his 
subsequent Calvinizing course. 

In a.d. 1602, before he had turned thirty, Loukaris succeeded Meletios 
as Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria; 7 he became Acting Oecumenical 
Patriarch in a.d. 1612, 8 and Oecumenical Patriarch in a.d. 1620; 9 and the 
hostility that he drew upon himself by his courage in using this eminent 
position as a vantage point for the pursuit of a revolutionary policy 
made his career stormy and his end tragic. Between his enthronement in 
a.d. 1620 and his execution in a.d. 1638 he experienced vicissitudes of 

menace (see IV. iv. 377 ~S 3 ) by a Khan of Bulgaria whose dominion slay at Constantinople’s 
doors. The fact that in constitutional theory they were acknowledging the political sove¬ 
reignty of a foreign potentate in accepting the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of an Oecumenical 
Patriarch who was that foreign potentate’s subject and minister did not deter the Rus¬ 
sians from declaring themse Ives the Oecumenical Patriarch’s ecclesiastical subjects by 
receiving a Greek candidate of the Patriarch’s as Metropolitan of Kiev in A.D. 1039 (see 
pp. 399-400, below), though at that date the Oecumenical Patriarch’s sovereign lord was 
the Emperor of an East Roman Empire which, to outward appearance, was then still at 
the zenith of its power (actually it had already brought both itself and the whole Ortho¬ 
dox Christian body social to ruin, through an internecine war with Bulgaria in a.d. 977- 
1019). A fortiori, in subsequent chapters of history, the Russians had not to fear that the 
Oecumenical Patriarch’s jurisdiction over their church might be used at an effective 
political lever either by the impotent Palaioldghi or by the infidel ’Osmanlis. 

A new situation, however, was created in the North by the political partition of Russian 
Orthodox Christendom between Poland-Lithuania and Muscovy and by the subsequent 
secession of the Metropolitanate of Moscow from the Patriarchate or Constantinople 
in a.d. 1441 (see pp. 398, below) and the establishment of an autocephalous Patriarchate of 
Moscow in a.d. 1589 with a pretension to exercise jurisdiction over All Russia* and this 
new situation was analogous to that which had arisen in the main body of Orthodox 
Christendom in the ninth and tenth centuries as a result of the conversion of Bulgaria 
to Orthodox Christianity. If the Orthodox Christian Russian populations under Polish 
and Lithuanian sovereignty were to be transferred from the Oecumenical Patriarch’s 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction to the new Patriarch of Moscow’s, the King of Poland- 
Lithuania and his Orthodox Christian subjects of Russian nationality would then find 
themselves, vis-a-vis the Tsar of Muscovy, in the position in which the Khan of Bul¬ 
garia had found himself vis-d-vis the East Roman Emperor. The Orthodox Christian 
provinces of a sixteenth-century Poland-Lithuania lay as dangerously near to Moscow 
as a ninth-century Bulgaria had lain to Constantinople; and a powerful Orthodox Tsar 
of Muscovy who had the Patriarch of Moscow under his thumb might use the Patriarch 
of Moscow’s pretension to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Russian Orthodox 
Christians who were Polish and Lithuanian subjects as an effective instrument for 

C litical interference in the affairs of a neighbouring state which he had strong motives 
r undermining and dominating if he could. 

» See Meyer, op. cit., p. 68j; Pichlcr, op. cit., p. 56; Mettetal, op. at., p. 23. 

* See Pichler, op. cit., p. 60. 

J See Mettetal. op. cit., p. 28. 4 See p. 128, above. 

J See Mettetal, op. cit., p. 31. * Sec Mettetal, op. cit., p. 32* 

? See Meyer, op. cit., p. 68s; Pichler, op. cit., p. 67; Rhcm6ris, op. cit., p. 17. 

* Sec Pichler, op. cit., p. 69. 

« On the 4th November, 1620, according to Meyer, op. cit., p. 687. Mettetal, op. cit., 
p. 63, and Rhcnidris. op. cit., p. 25, give the year as 1621. 



154 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
fortune 1 that were as sharp as the tribulations of his predecessor Photius 
and were due to the same cause as these. The similarity between the 
careers of these two distinguished incumbents of the Oecumenical 
Patriarchate is indeed striking. 2 Both patriarchs ventured to engage in 
ecclesiastical warfare with the Roman Church; 3 each of them was ulti¬ 
mately at the mercy of an autocratic temporal sovereign to whom he was 
doubly accountable as a subject who was at the same time also a public 
servant ex officio munerispatriarchate ; and each, in his dealings both with 
his Roman ecclesiastical adversaries and with his Constantinopolitan 
sovereign lord, was betrayed by an opposition within the ranks of his 
own Orthodox Christian community which played into his alien enemies’ 
hands. 

The revolutionary feature in Loukaris’ policy was not, of course, his 
anti-Roman stand. In this he was faithfully interpreting the contem¬ 
porary feelings of an overwhelming majority of his co-religionists under 
Ottoman rule, and even his opponents within his own flock must have 
secretly admired his boldness in defying Rome and have felt ashamed, 
in their heart of hearts, of the timidity or self-interest that deterred them 
from showing the same spirit. Nor had the Ottoman Government any 
quarrel with Lodkaris on this account, for in Ottoman minds in this age 
the Roman Church was identified with the Hapsburg Power, which was 
the Ottoman Power’s Western arch-enemy both on the Danubian and 
on the Mediterranean front. 4 The revolutionary policy that was Lodkaris’ 
unpardonable offence in the eyes of his Orthodox critics was his desire 
for an entente with the Western Protestant secessionists from the ranks 
of his and their Western Roman Catholic adversaries. 5 In these ‘Zealot’ 

i Loiikaris was banished in February 1623 (Pichler, op. cit., p. 113) and reinstated 
in 1624 (p. 124); banished in October 1633 and quickly reinstated (p. 162); banished in 
March 1634 ar.d reinstated in June 1634 (p. 162); banished in March 1635 and reinstated 
in July 1636 (pp. 162-3). 

J Photius's career has been touched upon in IV. iv. 606-7. 

* In this connexion it should be mentioned that Pichler, one of the authorities cited 
in this chapter, was a Roman Catholic. 

* This traditional Ottoman hostility to Catholicism was a serious impediment to the 
Constantinopolitan Jesuits who ultimately got rid of LoOkaris by persuading the Sultan 
to have him executed. The first Jesuit mission in Constantinople established itself in 
A.D. 1583-6 (Pichler, op. cit., p. tz6). In A.D. 1609 a second Jesuit mission was intro¬ 
duced under the auspices of the French (Pichler, op. cit., p. 117), who were personae 
gratae to the ‘Osmanlis as being Roman Catholics who were nevertheless enemies of the 
Hapsburgs. In a.d. 1628 the Jesuits were actually expelled by the Porte, at the instance 
of the English and Venetian Ambassadors (Pichler, op. cit., p. 134; RhenUris. op. cit., 
p. 49), in the storm raised by the Ottoman authorities' seizure, at the Jesuits’ instigation, 
of a Greek printing press that had been brought to Constantinople from England in 
June 1627 by Nikddhimos Metaxis (see p. 164, n. 1, below). Nevertheless, the Jesuits 
contrived, not only to find their way back to Constantinople, but to have a hand in the 
taking of Lodkaris life (sec von Hammer, J.: Histoire de VEmpire Ottoman, French trans¬ 
lation, vol. ix (Paris 1837. Bcllizard, Barthis, Dufour, et Lowell), p. 306). 

A pro-Loukaran pamphlet, published in a.d. 1633 as an appendix to a polemical work 
against the Society of Jesus, and dealing with the Jesuits' intrigues against LnJkari* 
at Constantinople in a.d. 1627 and 1628, is cited in Legrand, E.: Bibliographic UelUnique, 
ou Description Raisomite des Ouvrages publics par des Grtcs au Dix-Seplientc Siicle, vol. 
iii (Paris 1895, Picard), No. 706, pp. 87-88. 

J Both the place and the time of Loukaris’ first attraction towards Western Protestant 
ideas arc obscure. He was. of course, in political relations with Polish Protestants during 
his sojourn in Poland-Lithuania during the years a.d. 1596-1601 (see p. 152, above), 
but, a* we have seen, in this episode of history a common opposition to Roman Catholi¬ 
cism did not avail to bring the Orthodox and Protestant Christian communities in 
Poland into communion with one another. Ixxikaris is alleged by some authorities to 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 155 
Orthodox eyes the Protestants’ merit of being anti-Roman was quite 
eclipsed by their crime of being still Western and therefore still, from an 
Orthodox standpoint, schismatic; and, in the intricate encounter be¬ 
tween Loukaris, theConstantinopolitan Jesuits, the Orthodox Church in 
the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottoman Government, the Orthodox 
opposition and the Padishah were as blind as the Jesuits were clear¬ 
sighted. 

The unscrupulousness of the representations through which the 
Jesuits cajoled the Sultan into putting Lotikaris to death was all of a 
piece with their discernment in divining that, in seeking to redress the 
balance between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Roman Catholicism 
by attracting Protestantism into the Orthodox scale, Lotikaris had 
conjured up a threat to the Tridcntine Roman Church which might be¬ 
come deadly if its author were to be allowed an opportunity of putting 
this revolutionary Orthodox strategy into effect. 1 On the other hand, 
Sultan Murad IV', in allowing himself to be persuaded to order the 
execution of Loukaris in June 1638,* was less well advised than his 
imperial predecessor the East Roman Emperor Basil I had been when 
he had disposed of Photius by reinstating him, in a.d. 877, on his 

have visited Wittenberg and Geneva (Pichler, op. cit., p. 62) and even France and 
England (Mcttctal, op. cit., p. 23); and Pichler accepts the visits to Wittenberg and 
Geneva as authentic, and conjectures that Lotikaris paid these two visits after his mission 
in Poland, though he find* no evidence that Lotikaris ever travelled farther west than 
Geneva (op. cit., p. 65). Meyer, on the other hand, believes (op. cit., p. 685) that the 
alleged visits to Wittenberg and Geneva are also apocryphal, and that Lotikaris never 
waited any of the Protestant centres in Western Christendom at any date—either after 
his mission in Poland-Lithuania or during his previous sojourn in Venice and Padua. 
He points out that there is no mention of any such visits in the original historical sources, 
and that the legend of a visit to Geneva, in particular, is refuted by the absence of any 
reference to it in a letter, recommending Leger to Lotikaris, that was written to Lotikaris 
by the Genevan theologians in a.d. 1628. 

The earliest indubitably authentic record of Lotikaris’ inclination towards Protestant¬ 
ism is in a letter written by Lotikaris himself, on the 6th September, 1618, to M. A. de 
Dominis, in which he writes of his having made a three years’ study—presumably at 
Constantinople—of Protestant theological works (the relevant passage from this letter 
is quoted bv Meyer, op. cit., p. 685, from Legrand, E.: Bibliogrcphie HrUMque. ou 
Description Raintmit det Outrages Publics par de Grets au XVII™ Sticle, vol. iv (Paris 
1896, Picard), pp. 333-40). Lotikaris docs not say which three years these were; but 
Meyer points out that on the 4th June, 1613, he was finding it necessary to defend him¬ 
self publicly against a charge of Lutheranism. 

1 As Acting Oecumenical Patriarch, Lotikaris paid two visits, one in A.D. 1613 and 
the second in a.d. 1616 (Pichler, op. cit., pp. 75 and 87) to Wallachia, an autonomous 
Orthodox Christian principality under Ottoman suzerainty whose population was under 
the Oecumenical Patriarebate's ecclesiastical jurisdiction. On his second visit he ex¬ 
horted the people of the city and see of Tergovishtc, and the prince of Wallachia, Radul, 
to resist Roman Catholic propaganda (Pichler, op. cit., pp. 88 and 90). After his installa¬ 
tion on the Oecumenical Throne in a.d. 1620, Lotikaris issued an encyclical forbidding 
his ecclesiastical subjects to have intercourse with Roman Catholics (Rhenidris, op. cit., 
p. 31). The Jesuits’ retort to this was to put up a rival candidate for the Patriarchal 
Throne, and to bring about the first of Lotikaris’ successive banishments by persuading 
the Ottoman Government to relegate him to Rhodes on the insinuation that he had been 
intriguing with the Tuscan Government. Thereupon the Jesuits duly secured their own 
candidate’s installation, but Lotikaris then obtained his first reinstatement through the 
exertions of the English Ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe—after the anti-patriarch had 
been compelled to retire to Mount Athos, in spite of the French Ambassador’s efforts 
to keep him in office (Rhenidris, op. cit., pp. 31-36). In A.D. 1625 Lotikaris was 
approached by the Vatican with an offer of its protection if he would publicly accept 
the decisions of the Council of Florence and denounce Protestantism (Pichler, op. cit., 
p. 125; Rhenidris. op. cit., p. 38). Lotikaris left this overture unanswered (Rhenidris, 
op. cit.. p. 40). 

* See Pichler, op. cit., p. 177; Rhenidris, op. cit., p. 65. 



156 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
patriarchal throne on the understanding that the policy which the re¬ 
installed patriarch would carry out thereafter would be his master’s and 
not his own. The Sultan had not the Orthodox Opposition’s excuse for 
letting himself be led into playing the Jesuits’ game, for there were no 
traditional religious animosities or scruples to deter a Sunni Muslim 
potentate from combating a Roman Catholic form of infidelity by un¬ 
leashing against it a Calvinist form of infidelity whose doctrine and 
ethos had a marked affinity with those of Islam itself; and indeed in 
Hungary', for a hundred years and more, it had been an axiom of Otto¬ 
man policy to champion a liberated Protestant minority against their 
former Hapsburg Catholic oppressors. 

Loukaris’ enemies contrived nevertheless to infuriate the Sultan with 
the Patriarch by suggesting to Murad that Loukaris was politically 
responsible for the piratical enterprises of his ecclesiastical subjects, the 
Don Cossacks, against the Ottoman Empire. 1 In a.d. 16x5 the Don 
Cossacks had made their first naval raid into the Bosphorus; 1 and in 
a.d. 1638, on the eve of Sultan Murid IV’s departure from Constanti¬ 
nople on an Heraclian campaign to recover Asiatic Ottoman provinces 
that had been overrun by the Persians, the news arrived that the Don 
Cossacks had seized the strategically important Ottoman fortress of 
Azov by a coup de main} Murid was struggling to retrieve the Ottoman 
Empire from the anarchy into which it had lapsed since the death of 
Suleyman the Magnificent, 4 and he was a man of demonic temperament. 
In his exasperation at this unexpected and untimely military diversion 
at a moment when it was imperative for him to concentrate all his 
strength against the Safawl Power, he yielded impulsively to an insidious 
suggestion that the Oecumenical Patriarch should be made the scapegoat 
for a Cossack escapade which was not only out of the Patriarch’s control 
de facto but was also beyond the limits of his responsibility de jure} 

The action on Loukaris’ part that evoked the opposition to him among 
his own Orthodox co-religionists was his rapprochement with the 
Protestants with a view to a Protestant-Orthodox ecclesiastical union. 
Loukaris proposed to base this union on the two parties’ common 


1 For the Cossacks, sec II. ii. 155-7. P° r seventeenth-century eruption of the 
Don Cossacks into the Black Sea, sec III. iii. 418 and 428. 

2 See Allen, W. E. D.: The Ukraine, A History (Cambridge 1940, University Press), 
p. 93. 

1 See Pichlcr, op. cit., p. 176. * See V. vi. 207-8. 

* Sultan Murad would have become aware of Loukaris’ innocence if he had paused 
to take account of the difference between his respective jurisdictions and responsibilities 
as Oecumenical Patriarch and as millet-bishy of the Ottoman Miliet-i-Rum. As the 
ex officio political head of all Orthodox Christians under Ottoman rule, including those 
who were not within the Oecumenical Patriarchate’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the 
Oecumenical Patriarch was in truth responsible to the Sultan for their loyalty to the 
Ottoman Empire. On the other hand the Oecumenical Patriarch could not reasonably 
be held accountable politically for the acts of Orthodox Christians who, like the Don 
Cossacks, were not Ottoman subjects, even though they might be under the Oecumenical 
Patriarch’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Since the establishment of an autocephalous 
Patriarchate of Moscow in a.d. 1589 and the union of a majority of the Orthodox 
Christian subjects of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania with the Roman Church in 
a.d. 1594-6. the ecclesiastical jurisdiction which the Oecumenical Patriarch had pre¬ 
viously exercised over the whole of Russian Orthodox Christendom had contracted 
almost to vanishing point. It was unlucky for Loukaris that the remnant of his Russian 
flock happened to include Don Cossacks who made themselves obnoxious to Sultan 
Murid at a critical moment in Murid’s as well as in Lovikaris' career. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 157 
acceptance of the Scriptures and the Fathers and to safeguard this exist¬ 
ing basis by a mutual undertaking to make no innovations; 1 and in a.d. 
1627 proposals to this effect—with the additional stipulation that either 
party should retain its own existing rites, 2 provided that these were not 
contrary to religion—arc said to have been laid before the Calvinist 
doctors at Geneva by Mitrophdnis Kritdpoulos, 3 a disciple of Lotikaris’ 
who had been sent by Loukaris to England on an invitation from Abbott, 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and had spent seven years (a.d. 1617-24) 
in the Protestant universities of Oxford and Helmstddt. 4 In a.d. 1629 a 
Confessio was published in Loukaris’ name in Western Christendom; 5 
and, after this had been denounced by Catholics as a forger)’, 6 Loukaris 
is said to have made a public declaration that he was the author of it. 7 
The cardinal points in Loukaris’ Confessio were the Calvinist doctrines of 
justification by faith and the non-infallibility of the Church, with a conse¬ 
quent rejection of the Church’s pretension to have the last word in the 
interpretation of the Scriptures. 8 

Meanwhile, the tide had already turned against Loukaris’ policy of 
an Orthodox-Calvinist common front. The Genevan doctors—if the 
story that Mitrophdnis Kritdpoulos made proposals to them is true—had 
proved unwilling to commit themselves without having first obtained 


the statesmanlike 


1 See Metietal, op. cit., p. 45. 

* This mutual toleration of diverse rites was presumably inspired by i 
provisions, on this point, of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Union of 
> 439 - 

* Sec Mettetal, op. cit., pp. 76-77. The Roman Catholic authority, Pichlcr, op. cit., 
pp. 97-98, admits that Mitrophdnis Kritdpoulos visited Geneva in October 1627, but 
discounts, as apocryphal, the story that on this occasion he brought with him formal 
proposals for union. Kritdpoulo* certainly took sides against Loukaris at a later stage. 
He signed the acts of the Synod of Constantinople that condemned Loukaris in a.d. 
1638 (Meyer, op. cit..p. 689). 

4 See Pichler, op. cit., pp. 92-941 RheniVris, op. cit., p. 24. 

* Particulars of two Latin editions, four French editions, and one English and Latin 
edition of I^dkaris’ Confettio , all published in Western Christendom in A.n. 1629, will 
be found in Legrand, E.: Bibliolkf/jue HrlUnique, on Description Rationttie det Ouvraget 
Publics par det Greet au Dix-Septtbne Slide, vol. i (Paris 1894, Picard), pp. 267-72. 
According to Meyer, op. cit., p. 688, a German edition was also published in the same 
year. 

6 It is certain, nevertheless, that the Confettio is an authentic work of the Oecumenical 
Patriarch in whose name it was published. On p. 8 of one of the two Latin editions of 
A.D. 1629 (Legrand's No. 189) there appears, over the signature ‘Cornelius Haga, 
Confoederatorum Belgic. Provinciarum pro tempore apud Portam Ottomanici Impera- 
toris Orator’, the declaration: ‘Dcscripta fuit haec copia ex autographo, quod propria 
Rcvcrendissimi Domini Patriarchae Cyrilli menu, quam optime cognosco, scriptum 
penes me manet, et, per me fact® collatione, eum cum hoc ipso dc verbo ad verbum con- 
venire, attestor.’ The Dutch Ambassador to the Porte might perhaps have written this in 
error or in bad faith. There is, however, a Greek edition ot the Confettio, published at 
Geneva in a.d. 1633 by Jean de Toumes (No. 224 in Legrand, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 315- 
21), which was printed from a manuscript original in Lodkaris’ hand and bearing his 
signature. This original manuscript was afterwards preserved in the public library at 
Geneva, and a facsimile of the first sheet of it will be found in Legrand. op. cit., vol. cit., 
facing p. 218. In Legrand’s judgement (ibid., p. 318} the handwriting is identical with 
that of other manuscripts known to be from Lodkaris' hand. There was an autograph 
signed copy of the Greek text at Geneva in the same bundle as the original, and another 
autograph signed copy at Leyden, in a.d. 1894, when thia volume of Legrand’s waa 

P » See the Latin preface to the Geneva edition of the Greek text, quoted in Legrand, 
op. cit., vol. i, p. 316; Pichler, op. cit.^j»p. 150 and 153 


* See Pichler, op. cit., 
was an exposition of Ca' 
(Meyer, op. cit., p. 688). 


t., pp. 183-9; Mettetal, op. cit., p. 87. In genera! the Confettio 
Calvinism in traditional Orthodox Christian theological terms 



158 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
the agreement of their co-religionists in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, 
and England, 1 * while on the Orthodox side Yerasimos—Loukaris’ suc¬ 
cessor on the patriarchal throne of Alexandria, which, of all Orthodox 
sees on Ottoman soil, was second only to the Oecumenical Patriarchate 
itself in dignity and influence—had immediately come out in public as 
the leader of a militant opposition. 1 Yerasimos was given his opportunity 
by an overture from the Dutch Ambassador at Constantinople, who in 
a.d. 1628 had brought from Geneva a Piedmontese Calvinist theologian, 
Anton Leger, to propagate Calvinism among the Ottoman Orthodox 
from a post of vantage as the Ambassador’s chaplain. 3 This overture 
from the Calvinist side was rebuffed by Yerdsimos in a public pro¬ 
nouncement on the 8th July, 1629. 4 The Patriarch of Alexandria re¬ 
jected the pica for an Orthodox-Protestant common front against Roman 
Catholicism and denounced the translation of the Bible into the vernacu¬ 
lar 5 on the ground that God’s revelation was intentionally obscure and 
that it was more important to ensure that the faithful should remain 
Orthodox than that the Scriptures should be made intelligible. 6 ‘The 
seamless robe of Christ . . . would be torn into a thousand pieces by 
the Occidentals.’ 7 A castigation of 'the Confessio circulated in Cyril the 
Patriarch of Constantinople’s name’, by John Matthew Karyophillis, 
the Orthodox Archbishop of Qonlych, was published at Rome in Latin 
in a.d. 1631 and in Greek, in two versions, in a.d. 1632, and this polemic 
was dedicated by its Orthodox author to Pope Urban VIII. 8 

This counter-attack on Loukaris within his own camp when he was 
alive and in occupation of the Oecumenical Throne was vigorously 
followed up after his final disgrace and death. On the 27th September, 
1639, the dead Oecumenical Patriarch was anathematized 9 by a synod 
which had been convened at Constantinople by Cyril Kdndaris, the 
Orthodox Bishop of Bercea, 10 and which was attended by three Patriarchs, 
including Loukaris’ disciple Mitrophdnis Kritdpoulos—now Patriarch 
of Alexandria. 11 This act was confirmed by a Graeco-Russian synod 
convened at Jassy, under the presidency of the Oecumenical Patriarch 

1 See Mettctal, op. tit., p. 77. 

1 For this opposition, sec Meyer, op. cit., p. 688. 

J Sec Meyer, op. cit., p. 688 ; Pichlcr, op. cit., p. 143; Rhcni^ris, op. cit., pp. 51-52. 
Leger stayed at Constantinople till a.d. 1636. 

* Sec Meyer, op. tit., p. 689; Pichler, op. tit„p. 144; Mettctal, op. cit., p. 78. 

J The Elxcvir edition of the Greek text of the Gospels was translated from the Attic 
KOiyr] into the Modern Greek 817/1071*7 on Loukaris’ orders at Leger’* instance (RhenUris, 
op. cit., p. 53), though it did not reach Constantinople from Geneva, where it had been 
published in a.d. 1638, till after Lodkaris' death (Meyer, op. cit., p. 688). This was 
perhaps the first shot fired in a Modem Greek cultural civil war on tnc issue raised by 
Linguistic Archaism (see V. vi. 68-71). 

6 See Pichler, op. cit., pp. X45-6. It is significant that similar sentiments had once 
been expressed by Lodkaris. In a letter of the 30th May, i6« 2, to a Dutch correspondent, 
J. Uytcnbogaert (Wtenbogaert), he had declared that the ruin of Greek education by 
the Turks had brought with it one benefit, at any rate: it had safeguarded the Greeks 
against heresy (Pichler, op. cit., p. 72). 

7 Quoted in Mcttetal, op. cit, p. 79. 

8 See Legrand, op. cit., vol. i. No. 209 (pp. 2SS-9) and Nos. 216-17 <PP> 304-6). 

9 See Pichler, op. cit., pp. 217 and 226; Mettctal, op. cit., p. 102. Meyer, op. cit., 
p. 680, gives the date of the Synod’s findings as a.d. 1638. 

to See Rhcni6ris, op. tit., p. 59: Pichler, op. cit, p. axe. Kdndaris was an alumnus of 
the Jesuit College founded at Galata in a.d. x6oi (Rhemiris, op. tit., p. 19). 

11 See Pichler, op. tit., p. 216; Meyer, op. cit, p. 689. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 159 
Parthenios’s legates, in a.d. 1642, 1 and thereafter by a synod convened at 
Jerusalem in a.d. 1672* which was bitterly anti-Calvinist in its pro¬ 
nouncements 3 but was not widely representative of Orthodoxy in its 
membership, since, apart from two Russian monks, it was not attended 
by any fathers not belonging to the hierarchy of the Patriarchate of 
Jerusalem itself. 4 The final blow was struck at a synod held in Constan¬ 
tinople in a.d. 1 691. 5 

If Loukaris had succeeded in persuading his Orthodox flock and his 
Calvinist friends to enter into an ecclesiastical union with one another 
under the presidency of the Oecumenical Patriarchate, he would have 
anticipated, by nearly three hundred years, Stalin’s feat of appropriating 
a Western heresy to serve as a new weapon against the prevailing Western 
orthodoxy of the day. And who can say what the consequences might 
have been if, instead of putting Loukaris to death, Sultan Murad had 
had the wit to follow up a traditionally philo-Protcstant Ottoman policy 
by taking a philo-Protestant Oecumenical Patriarch under his imperial 
patronage? In its predestinarianism and in its rejection of ‘priestcraft’ 
and ‘image-worship’—two traditional Christian institutions that were 
Orthodox as well as Catholic—Calvinism had a decidedly greater affinity 
with Islam than with Orthodox Christianity; 6 and, if the Orthodox 
Church in the Ottoman Empire had gone Calvinist in doctrine and 6thos 
as a sequel to a mariage de convenance with the Calvinist churches of 
Western Europe, the intellectual and moral gulf between the Orthodox 
Christian and the Muslim subjects of the Padishah would have been 
appreciably diminished—instead of being accentuated, as it actually was, 
when, in the next chapter of the story, the Orthodox Christian subjects 
of the Ottoman Empire succumbed to the attraction of the Modern 
Western culture in its latter-day secular form. If Cyril Lotikaris had had 

' See Mevcr. op. cit., p. 689; Rheniiris, op. dt, p. 73 - The Greek text of the decree 
of this synod, condemning the Confessio, was published at Jassy on the 20th December, 
164a (Old Style) (Lcgrand, op. cit., vol. iii, No. 708, p. 89), and was republished, together 
with a Latin translation, in A.D. 1643, hy Sebnstien Cramoisy, Printer to the King of 
France (Lcgrand, op. cit., vol. i. No. 337, pp. 4 SO->)- The Corifeuio itself, together with 
the texts of both the Bishop of Bercra’s and the Oecumenical Patriarch’s synodal stric¬ 
tures, all in both Greek and Latin, was published in A.D. 1645 (Lcgrand, op. cit., vol. 

assy is erroneously dated, not a.d. 1642, but a.d. 1644, by N. Jorga: 
Geschichie des Osmaniuhen Roches, vol. iv (Gotha 1911, Perthes), p. 30. Mettetal, op. 
cit., pp. 103-4. records a synod held at Constantinople in a.d. 1643 a * the instance of 
Basil Prince of Moldavia and attended by the Metropolitan of Kiev. As this Synod of 
Constantinople ia not mentioned by any of the other authorities, it is possible that it is 
an erroneous description of the synod actually held in a.d. 1642 at Jassy—unless the 
participants in the proceedings at Jassy subsequently adjourned to Constantinople. 

1 For this synod of Jerusalem see Pichler, op. cit., pp. 230-5*. Mettetal, op. cit., 
p. 106; Rhenidris, op. cit., n. 75. Anti-Western though it was, it was nevertheless a by¬ 
product of a Western religious controversy. In a dispute about Lodkaris between the 
French Huguenots and Port Royal, the Huguenots had boasted that the Orthodox 
Church was Calvinist, and the French Ambassador at Constantinople, dc Nointel, had 
asked the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheos, for an explanation. The synod 
of Jerusalem implied, in its findings, that Lodkaris was not the author of the Confesno 
attributed to him (Pichler, op. dt., p. 230). A pair of polemics against Calvinism by 
Meletios righos, one of the two patriarchal legates at Jassy in a.d. 1642, and by Dosi¬ 
theos, were published at Bucarest in a.d. 1690 (Legrand, op. cit., vol. ii. No. 632, pp. 
458 - 473 ). 5 Se * Pichler. op. cit., p. 235. 

* See Pichler, op. dt., p. 233. 5 See Meyer, op. at., p. 689. 

* On this point ace Arnold, T. W.: The Preaching of hlam, and ed. (London 1913. 
Constable), p. 163. 


11, No. 272, p. 14) 
The Synod of J 



160 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
* his way, it is conceivable that the trial of strength between the Ottoman 
Power and the Danubian Hapsburg Power in a.d. 1682-3 wight have 
ended in the discomfiture of Roman Catholicism by the united forces of 
an Islam and an Orthodoxy that had made contact with one another 
across a Calvinist bridge. 

This possible outcome of Loukaris’ policy was ruled out by the com¬ 
bined effects of Jesuit ability, Ottoman blindness, and Orthodox fanati¬ 
cism. By what lengths Lotikaris actually fell short of winning over a 
majority of his Orthodox co-religionists to his Calvinizing policy it is 
difficultto judge, 1 but it is significant that the 'Zealot' spirit which defeated 
a Loukaris in the early decades of the seventeenth century was still 
strong enough in the middle decades of the eighteenth century to baffle 
a Votilgharis. 

The Frustration of Evybiios Voulgharis 

Evydnios Vodlgharis 2 (vivebat a.d. 1716-1806) was a Greek philoso¬ 
pher-educationalist whose impeccable Orthodoxy 3 did not atone, in 
contemporary ecclesiastical Greek Orthodox eyes, for his offences of 
advocating religious toleration and educational reform and cultivating 
contemporary Western philosophy. On these accounts, Voulgharis was 
driven from pillar to post. The hostility of the conservative headmaster 
of a rival school at Ydnnina forced him to relinquish his own school there 
and retreat to Kdzhani. An opportunity that had been opened to him by 
the foundation of a new academy on Mount Athos was closed, after he 
had taught there for six years, by the dissolution of the academy at the 
instance of the ex-Oecumenical Patriarch Cyril, who, unfortunately for 
Votilgharis, was then living in retirement on the Holy Mountain; and, 
after he had had the further disappointment of being forced out of a post 
to which he had been appointed at the Patriarchal Academy in Constanti¬ 
nople, Voulgharis accepted, in a.d. 1775, an invitation from a Petrine 

1 Evidence suggesting that Lotikaris’ following among his own flock was not in¬ 
considerable is presented by Sir Thomas Arnold in op. cit., pp. 163-4. He points out 
that Lotikaris’ Con/tssio was adopted by a synod of his Orthodox supporters (cp. Pichler, 
op. cit., pp. 181 and 228); argues that the very vigour of the opposition, and vehemence 
of their denunciations, testify to a fear on their part that Loukaris’ party might win 
the day; and discounts, as tendentious, the picture of Lotikaris, drawn bv his Orthodox 
opponents, as an isolated figure playing a lone hand (for this picture, see Pichler, op. cit., 
pp. 211 and 227, and Mettetal, op. cit., p. 101). On the other hand, Mcttetal (op. cit., 
p. 91) estimates that the Confessio was received by the Greeks with apathy, and Loukaris 
himself once wrote, in a letter to David le Leu dc Wilhem, a Dutch statesman with whom 
he was in correspondence in the years a.d. 1618-20: ‘Io se puotesse riformarc la mia 
chiesa, lo farei molto volcnticri, ma Iddio sa che Iraclalur de impostibili' (Lcgrand, 
op. cit., vol. iv, p. 326, Doc. 109). 

* For Voulgharis' career, see Thereiands, D.: Adhamdndios Korais (Trieste 1889- 
1890, Austrian Lloyd Press, 3 vols.), vol. i, p. 64, and Finlay, G.: A History of Greece, 
B.c. 146 to a.d. 1864 (Oxford 1877, Clarendon Press, 7 vols.), vol. v, pp. 284-c. 

* VovSlgharis gave evidence of his Orthodox piety in publishing for one of the Phana- 
riot Princes of the House of Ghika, Gregory II (in Moldavia funrebatur a.d. 1764-6 et 
A.n. 1774-7: •" Wallaehu f a.d. 1768-74), an edition of the Evoc&evra of Vrydnr.ios— a 
Byzantine work vindicating the authenticity of miracles—and in eschewing, out of a 
religious scruple, the new-fangled use of the word 'EXXtjv in the sense of an adherent 
of the living Orthodox Christian Modem Greek nationality in lieu of its traditional usage 
in the sense of an adherent of the dead pagan Hellenic Civilization (Thereiands, D.: 
Adhamdndiot Korais (Trieste 1889-90, Austrian Lloyd Press, 3 vols.), vol. i, pp. 73-75 
and 66). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 161 
Russian Imperial Government which appreciated his qualifications and 
turned them to good account by making him bishop of the new See of 
Slavonia and Kherson in territory recently acquired by Russia from the 
Ottoman Empire in the northern hinterland of the Black Sea. 

Voulgharis’ Zealot Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical persecutors were 
not even content with having thus hounded him out of the domain of 
Greek Orthodox Christendom. In a.d. 1798 the Greek press at Con¬ 
stantinople published a counterblast, by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, 
Anthimos, to a tract written by Votilgharis in favour of religious tolera¬ 
tion, and this eighteenth-century fulmination still breathed the authentic 
spirit of fifteenth-century Orthodox fanaticism. The Patriarch told his 
readers that 

‘when the last emperors of Constantinople began to subject the Oriental 
Church to Papal thraldom, the particular favour of Heaven raised up the 
Othoman Empire to protect the Greeks against heresy, to be a barrier 
against the political power of the Western nations, and to be the champion 
of the Orthodox Church.’ 1 

The Revolution in the Ottoman Orthodox Christians' Attitude towards the 
West 

This classic exposition of a traditional ‘Zealot’ thesis was, however, no 
more than a parting shot in a losing cultural battle which had taken its 
decisive turn more than a hundred years before the close of the eighteenth 
century. 2 In the cultural tug-of-war, for the captivation of Greek, Serb, 
and Rumanian Orthodox Christian souls, between the Ottoman masters 
of these ra'iyeh and their Western neighbours, the West had won be¬ 
fore the seventeenth century was over. The date of this transfer of 
the Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh 's cultural allegiance can be established, 
within rather narrow limits, by the at first sight superficial, yet neverthe¬ 
less psychologically significant, index of changes in fashions of dress, 
and this sartorial testimony is corroborated by evidence in the religious 
field. At the same date, conversions of Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh to 
Islam virtually ceased, and unconverted Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh for 
the first time showed a preference for Hapsburg over Ottoman rule. 

In the seventh decade of the seventeenth century, Ottomanization was 
still the goal of the ra'iyeh 's social ambition, as was observed by the 

> Finlay, op. cit., vol. cit., loc. cit. 

2 The waning power of the Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy, which had still 
just availed to frustrate Votilgharis, proved impotent against his intellectual successor 
Korais, though the life-times of these two Greek apostles of the Western culture over¬ 
lapped. Korals, too, in his day, had to defend himself against charges ofjmpiety accord¬ 
ing to a letter published in Komis, Adhamlndios: ’Anav 9 iafUi 'EmrrroX&v (Athens 1S39, 
Rhdllis), p. 2«6; and, from the clerical standpoint, these charges could perhaps be sub¬ 
stantiated on the testimony of Korais’ own written words. 'Rebuild your schools not only 
before your country houses but before your churches’, he wrote to the Chiots.on the 
morrow of the catastrophe of a.d. 1822 (letter of the 12th October, 1822, in' ArravOur/ia, 
pp. 45-47). 'Monastic estates (ficriyia) are an incentive to idleness and ought to be 
abolished' (the same letter, in AndvOiopa, p. 49). In a letter of the 4th July, 1823, on the 
constitution of the new Greek national state, Korais prescribes that the ecclesiastical 
authorities ought to be elected by the laity and to be debarred from participation in 
politics (‘Avdy 0 ia/ta, p. 257)—a French Revolutionary theory that was utterly sub¬ 
versive of the established Ottoman institution of the Mtllet-i-Rum. Votilgharis had been 
censured and thwarted for offences that bore no comparison with these enormities. 

B 28SS.VIU G 



x62 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
shrewd secretary of the English Embassy at Constantinople, Sir Paul 
Rycaut: 

‘It is worth a wise man’s observation how gladly the Greeks and Arme¬ 
nian Christians imitate the Turkish habit, and come as near to it as they 
dare; and how proud they arc when they are privileged upon some extra¬ 
ordinary occasion to appear without their Christian distinction.’ 1 

On the other hand, Demetrius Cantemir, the Ruman grandee who was 
appointed Prince of Moldavia by the Porte in November 1710* and 
deserted to Peter the Great when the Tsar invaded Moldavia in 1711,* 
is represented in a contemporary portrait wearing a bag wig, coat and 
waistcoat, and rapier; and, though in this portrait Cantemir’s Ottoman 
antecedents arc still betrayed by a turban superimposed on his wig and 
by a dagger thrust into his girdle to supplement the rapier at his hip, 4 
these relics of Ottomanism no longer figure in the frontispiece to an 
English translation, published in 1734-5, of Cantemir's history of the 
Ottoman Empire. 5 Nor were there any tell-tale Ottoman accessories in 
the portraits, painted at Pest or Vienna somewhat later in the eighteenth 
century, to judge by the cut of the coats and the style of the wigs, which, 
on the 5th-6th September, 1921, the writer of this Study saw still 
hanging on the panelled walls of houses in the South-West Macedonian 
Greek townlet of Shdtishta to commemorate the overland trade with 
the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy and Saxony that was opened up in 
the eighteenth century by more than one enterprising Rumeliot Greek 
Orthodox Christian community. 6 

These changes in style of dress were, of course, outward visible signs 
of corresponding changes in cast of mind. Demetrius Cantemir, for 
example, could read and write Latin, Italian, and French, as well as his 
Rumanian mother tongue, the Modem and Attic Greek and the Old 
Slavonic that were his Orthodox Christian cultural heritage, and the 
Turkish, Persian, and Arabic that were his cultural stock in trade as an 
Ottoman officer of state; and, after his desertion to the Russian camp, 
he added the Russian language to his repertory. 7 His history of the 
Ottoman Empire, written in Latin and published in French and English 
simultaneously, was perhaps the first to be presented by an Ottoman 
subject in the Western manner. The Rumanian Cantemir’s older Greek 
contemporary Alexander Mavrogordato, 8 who was appointed in A.D. 

* Rycaut, Sir P.: The Present State of the Ottoman Empire (London 1668, Starkey 
and Brome). p. 82. The sixteenth-century Greek Orthodox Christian residents in the 
centres of business in Western Christendom 'wore the dress and assumed the manners 
of Turks; for they found that in Western Europe they were more respected in the 
character of Ottoman subjects than as schismatic Greeks’ (Finlay, G.: A History of 
Greece, b.C. 146-A.D. 1S64, vol. v (Oxford 1877. Clarendon Press), pp. 156-7). 

* Sec Jorga, N.: Gesehichte ties Osmanischen Reiches, vol. iv (Gotha 191 x, Perthes), 

p. 304. 

5 See II. ii. 225, n. x. * Sec Jorga, op. cit., vol. tit., pp. 363-4. 

5 Cantemir, Demetrius: The History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire, 
written originally in Latin, translated into English from the author’s own manuscript— 
‘communicated to the translator by his son. Prince Antiochus Cantemir, Minister 
Plenipotentiary from the Czarina to his present Majesty King George’—by N. Tindal, 
M.A., Vicar of Great Waltham in Essex (London 1734-5. Knapton, 2 parts). 

6 For this overland trade, see pp. 18c—2, below. 

» See Jorga, op. cit., vol. cit., loc. cit.; Tindal’s translation of Cantemir, op. cit., part 
ii, p. 460. » See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 242; Jorga, op. cit., vol. xv, p. 283. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 163 
1673 to be the second incumbent of the recently created office of Drago¬ 
man of the Porte 1 and who eventually extricated the Ottoman Empire 
from the disastrous war of a . d . 1682-99 by negotiating the peace settle¬ 
ment of Carlowitz, likewise knew Latin, Italian, and French as well 
as Greek, ‘Slav’, 1 Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, and likewise won the 
freedom of a Modem Western republic of letters. 3 

The Phanariot Greek Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman public 
service 4 continued to study the classical languages and literatures of the 
Islamic culture down to the eve of the Greek national uprising of a.d. 
1821, and this not merely on account of their utility, but for the sake of 
their prestige and their intrinsic attractiveness. 

'The Phanariots were attentive to education and applied themselves to 
literary studies, especially the Turkish language, as being superior to 
others,’ 

writes one of the fathers of the Greek Revolution in his memoirs. 5 But 
the qualification which gave the seventeenth-century and eighteenth- 
century Phanariots their value in the eyes of their Turkish employers 
was their familiarity, not with Ottoman, but with Western life and 
letters in an age in which the Ottoman Government had to find compe¬ 
tent representatives to negotiate diplomatically with Western Powers 
whom it cculd no longer simply defeat in the field 6 —in striking contrast 
to the Sultans’ attitude in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth cen¬ 
turies of the Christian Era, when they had conscripted an Hite of their 
Orthodox Christian subjects into their Slave-Household in order to fit 
them, by a totalitarian Ottoman education, to govern the Ottoman 
Empire as professional administrators and to extend its bounds as 
professional soldiers. 7 

The generation which saw the Ottoman Government begin to appre¬ 
ciate in their Orthodox Christian subjects a familiarity with the Modern 
West, which these ra'iyeh would not have acquired if they had been 
transformed into qullar, was likewise the generation which saw the vir¬ 
tual end of a process of voluntary conversion of Orthodox Christian 
ra'iyeh to Islam that had been in progress since the fourteenth century 
and had been one of the secrets of the ‘Osmanlis’ amazing political 
success. Even the Orthodox Christian ‘tribute children’ who were 
educated to be the rulers of the Ottoman Empire became Muslims— 
as they invariably did—by choice and not by compulsion; 8 and in 
general the Ottoman regime in the Orthodox Christian World was as 
scrupulous as the Umayyad regime had been in the Syriac World in 

1 This office had been created by the Grand Vizier Ahmed KbprGlQ in A.D. 1660. 

* This vague term 'Slav’ might mean either the ninth-century Macedonian Slav 
dialect which had become the liturgical language of the Slavonic-speaking and Rumanian¬ 
speaking Orthodox Christian peoples under the name of 'Old Slavonic', or it might 
mean one of the living vernacular Slav languages, e.g. Serbo-Croat. 

3 Mavrogordito’s contribution to Western literature was a treatise on the seventeenth- 
century Western scientific discovery of the circulation of the blood (sec p. 137, n. 8, 
below). < _ * See II. ii. 222;-8. 

3 Khrysanthdpoulos, Ph.: AtTopvrjuavtvfiaTa ntpl riji 'EMynKi/s ’Enavaordotejs 
(Athens 1899, Sakcllarios, 2 vols.), vol. i, p. 37 - 

* On this point, see II. ii. 224. 

7 The classical Ottoman system of education has been described in III. iii. 22-30. 

* See III. iii. 37 , n. x. 



164 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
abiding by the Prophet Muhammad’s injunction that non-Muslim 
'People of the Book’ were to be allowed to practise their ancestral reli¬ 
gions under Muslim rule in consideration of the payment of a surtax. 1 
After the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a Western Chris¬ 
tian who had spent twenty-two years in captivity in Ottoman hands 
testified that the ‘Osmanlis ‘compelled no one to renounce his faith’; 1 
and, in the judgement of a judicious Modern Western student of the 
history of the Greeks under Ottoman rule, 

‘we find that many Greeks of high talent and moral character were so 
sensible of the superiority of the Mohammadans that, even when they 
escaped being drafted into the Sultan’s household as tribute-children, 
they voluntarily embraced the faith of Mahomet. The moral superiority 
of Ottoman society must be allowed to have had as much weight in causing 
these conversions, which were numerous in the fifteenth century, as the 
personal ambition of individuals.’ 3 

‘Towards the middle of the seventeenth century . . . the number of 
[Greek] renegades from among the middle and lower orders of society is 
said to have been more considerable than at any other time.’ 4 In Crete, 
the last Greek Orthodox Christian country to be acquired by the 
‘Osmanlis, the conquest achieved in the long-drawn-out Veneto-Ottoman 
War of Candia (gerebatur a . d . 1645-69) was followed by conversions 5 
which, in both their spontaneity and their numbers, were as impressive 
as any recorded in the heyday of the Ottoman Power; and the Greeks 
were not alone among the Orthodox Christian ra’iyeh in continuing to 
be susceptible to the attractions of Islam down to this date. A com¬ 
munity of Bulgar Orthodox Christian highlanders in the Rhodope, who 
came to be known, after their apostasy, as Pomaks, were converted to 
Islam between a . d . 1656 and a . d . 1661; and among the Albanians the 
proportion of Muslims in the population seems to have risen from not 
more than 10 per cent, to more than 50 per cent, between a . d . 1610 and 
the close of the seventeenth century. 6 

While the descendants of these seventeenth-century Albanian con¬ 
verts betrayed mental reservations by adopting Islam in the crypto-Shi'I 
form of Bcktashism, 7 the descendants of the contemporary Pomak and 

1 See the evidence presented in V. vi. 203-5. It is also noteworthy that, after the 
seizure, on the 4th January, 1628, by the Janissaries, at the Jesuits’ instigation, of a 
printing-press which had been brought to Constantinople from England in a.d. 1627 
by Nikbahimos Mctaxis, the Sheykh-el-Isl 4 m gave the opinion that Christian sub¬ 
jects of the Porte had a right to publish controversial religious literature. It must be 
added that this ruling did not secure the restitution of the press, though it did secure 
the temporary banishment of the Jesuits. (For this incident, see Pichler, op. cit., pp. 
127-34; Rhenibris, op. cit., pp. 43-S). During the remainder of the seventeenth century 
the only ra'iyeh permitted to have u printing press at Constantinople were the Jews. 
As late as A.D. 1698 the Armenians were estopped from using a press which they had 
imported from Venice. The first press for printing Turkish (of course, in the Arabic 
Alphabet) was established in Constantinople in a.d. 1727 by the Grand Vizier Ibrahim, 
who was a Hungarian renegade (Pichler, op. cit., pp. 137-8). 

1 AuctorAnonymua: Turchieat Spurcitiae Suggillatio et Con/ufo/io (Paris 1514, Badius), 
fol. xvii (a) in the edition of 1516, quoted in Arnold, op. cit., p. 157. 

> Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 29. 

4 Arnold, op. cit., p. 165, citing Scheffler, J.: TQrchcn-Schrift: von der Unachen der 
TUrckuchen Utbtrziehung and der Zerlrelung dei Volckci Golles (1664), §§ 53-6, and Fin¬ 
lay, op. cit., vol. v, pp. 1*8-19. 

* For details, see Arnold, op. cit., pp. 153 and 201-5. 

6 See Arnold, op. cit., pp. 177-92, especially p. 180. 


7 See V. v. 295. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 165 
Cretan converts displayed the zeal for which their kind are notorious, 
and survived to give proof of their sincerity in the twentieth century of 
the Christian Era by choosing to lose their ancestral homes and settle 
among their Turkish-speaking co-religionists in Anatolia rather than 
avoid exile by re-embracing the faith of their forefathers whose mother 
tongue they had never ceased to speak. The seventeenth-century mass 
conversions of Albanians and Rhodopaean Bulgars, however, unlike 
those of contemporary Cretans, occurred in new circumstances which 
portended a change. They appear to have been to a large extent the 
psychological reaction to a disillusionment experienced by Christian 
barbarians in fastnesses who had found their ‘Osmanli masters still too 
strong for them when they had prematurely attempted to shake off the 
Ottoman yoke by force during the temporary lapse of the Ottoman 
Empire between the death of Suleym 5 n the Magnificent in a . d . 1566 
and the advent of the saviour Mehmed Koprulii to power in a . d . 1656.* 
Thereafter, conversions virtually ceased. 

‘In the eighteenth century, when the condition of the Christians was 
worse than at any other period, we find hardly any mention of conversions 
at all, and the Turks themselves arc represented as utterly indifferent to 
the progress of their religion and considerably infected with scepticism 
and unbelief.’ 2 

The Revolution in the West's Attitude towards Orthodox Christianity 

The sufferings of the Orthodox Christian subjects of the Ottoman 
Porte in the eighteenth century of the Christian Era were due, not to 
religious persecution—as is witnessed by the fact that in this age the 
Porte’s Muslim subjects suffered equally—but to the misgovernment 
of the Ottoman Empire during its final lapse towards dissolution after the 
rally that had been led by the House of Koprulii . 3 By contrast, the 
religious scepticism and unbelief that infected Western Christendom in 
the same generation was accompanied by an advance in administrative 
efficiency and a dawn of political enlightenment. The consequent new 
Western outlook revealed itself in a sudden conversion of the Danubian 
Hapsburg Monarchy from a Spanish-minded Roman Catholic intoler¬ 
ance towards its Protestant subjects and its Orthodox Christian neigh¬ 
bours to a standard of religious toleration that could compare not 
unfavourably with the Islamic standard of a contemporary' Ottoman 
rdgime; and this moral revolution in Hapsburg counsels evoked a politi¬ 
cal revolution in Protestant and Orthodox hearts. 

‘The Calvinists of Hungary and Transylvania and the Unitarians of the 
latter country’ had 'long preferred to submit to the Turks rather than fall 
into the hands of the fanatical House of Hapsburg, and,’ as late as the 

I The insurgent Rhodopaean Bulgars were subjugated and converted bv the Grand 
Vizier Mehmed KoprillQ (fuKgebatur a.d. 1656-61). Apostasies of Roman Catholic (not 
Orthodox) Albanians on the rebound from two unsuccessful insurrections in the fourth 
and fifth decades of the seventeenth century arc noticed in Arnold, op. cit., pp. 188-9. 
While some of these Catholic apostates opted for Islam, others opted for Orthodoxy. 
The Orthodox Christian Albanian warriors who seized the fastness of Suli in the last 
quarter of the seventeenth century succeeded in holding their own till they were over¬ 
powered by ‘All Pasha of Yinnina in a.d. 1803. 

* Arnold, op. cit., p. 154. 2 See V. vi. 208-9 299-300- 



166 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

seventh decade of the seventeenth century*, ‘the Protestants of Silesia 1 
looked with longing eyes towards Turkey, and would gladly have pur¬ 
chased religious freedom at the price of submission to the Muslim rule.’ 2 

The Silesian Protestants’ pro-Ottoman proclivities evoked the follow¬ 
ing lament from a Western observer in a book published in a.d. 1664: 

‘I hear with great astonishment and consternation that it is not only 
among the common people that remarks like these go the round: "Life 
under the Turks is not so bad either; one has only to give a ducat per 
head, and one would be free”; item, "The Turk leaves religion free; one 
would recover possession of the churches”; and the like. I also hear that 
others, who ought to have known better, take pleasure in such talk and 
rejoice at the thought of their own undoing ( iiber ihr eigen Ungliick 
frolocken ).' 3 

The extent of the Danubian Hapsburg Government’s change of 
policy, if not of heart, within the next twenty-five years is revealed in 
their dealings with the Serbs 4 when, in the first rebound from the failure 
of Ottoman arms to take Vienna in the siege of a.d. 1682-3, Hapsburg 
armies broke into the domain of an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom 
and, momentarily penetrating as far south-eastward as Old Serbia, suc¬ 
ceeded in a.d. 1689 in occupying Pc<f, the seat of an autocephalous Serb 
Patriarchate that had been re-established in a.d. 1557 by the Porte at 
the instance of a Serb-born Grand Vizier, Mehmed Sdkdllii. 5 

The first reaction of the Ottoman Padishah’s Orthodox Christian sub¬ 
jects to the advent of these new schismatic Western Christian Crusaders 
was apprehensive and hostile. 

‘The most striking feature of the appeals to Russia from the Balkan 
Orthodox is that they were directed quite as much against Catholic 
Austria as against Muslim Turkey—which did not seek proselytes. The 
[orthodox] Metropolitan of Skoplje [Oskiib], who made his way to Mos¬ 
cow in a.d. 1687, inveighed against the dangers of Austrian domination 
and the ill-treatment of refugee Serbian bishops in Hungary. He was 
followed next year by Isaiah, Archimandrite of St. Paul’s Monastery on 
Athos, imploring Russia to save the Orthodox from Latin as well as 
Muslim conquerors, and bringing appeals for help not only from Constan¬ 
tinople and Sherban Cantacuzene, hospodar of Wallachia, but as well 
from Arsenius [Arscnijc III] Kmojevid, the Serbian Patriarch of Pe <5 
[Ipek ].’ 6 

Thereafter, however, a touch of adversity brought home to Franks and 
Serbs alike the expediency of making common cause. When the tide of 
war turned again in the ‘Osmanlis’ favour, as it quickly did, the reign- 

1 Silesia had come under Hapsburg rule in a.d. 1526, together with the rest of the 
Bohemian crown lands (see II. ii. 179). It remained under Hapsburg rule till all but a 
fragment of it was conquered by Frederick the Great in the War of the Austrian Suc¬ 
cession ( grrebalur A.D. 1740-8).—A.J.T. 

a Arnold, op. cit., pp. IS5-6. 

J Schcfiicr, op. cit., § 48, quoted in Arnold, op. cit., p. 156, n. 1. 

* The following account is based on Hadrovics, L.: L’£glue Serbe sous la Domination 
Turque (Paris 1947, Presses Universitaires de France), pp. 135-46. 

* See III. iii. 40, n. 1, and IV. iv. 622, n. 6. 

6 Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Ottoman Empire (Oxford 1949, Blackwell), 
P- 34 - 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 167 
ing Patriarch Arsenije III committed himself to the Hapsburg cause 
by encouraging the Serb and Albanian Orthodox Christians under his 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction to enlist under the Hapsburg flag; and on the 
6th April, 1690, on the advice of Thomas Raspassani—a Franciscan 
friar who was vicar of the vacant Roman Catholic episcopal see of Scupi 
(Skoplje, Oskub)—the Emperor Leopold published a proclamation to all 
Christian peoples formerly subject to the Hungarian Crown, and to all 
other Christian peoples now under Ottoman rule, declaring his inten¬ 
tion to liberate them, inviting them to take up arms in his cause, and 
promising them, after liberation, entire religious liberty and a juridical 
status in accordance with their desires, including the rights of freely 
electing a prince of their own and of paying no other taxes than those 
that had been in force before the Ottoman conquest. 1 This proclama¬ 
tion was accompanied by a personal letter of the same date from the 
Emperor to the Serb Patriarch. 

Later in the same year, when, under continuing Ottoman pressure, 
the Hapsburg armies were compelled to fall back on the Danube, the 
Patriarch Arsenije evacuated the abandoned territory with them at the 
head of some seventy thousand or more Serb Orthodox Christian 
refugees, 1 and a meeting of Serb prelates and lay notables, held at 
Belgrade, offered their political allegiance to the Hapsburg Crown on 
condition that in Serb-inhabited territories enumerated by them—some 
of which were at that moment in Hapsburg, and others in Ottoman, 
hands—the Hapsburg Government should guarantee to the Serb com¬ 
munity the enjoyment of a communal autonomy under the presidency 
of an archbishop of Serb descent and mother-tongue and of the Greek 
Orthodox Christian rite who was to be elected by a mixed ecclesiastical 
and lay assembly. This offer of Serb allegiance, on the basis of these 
Serb stipulations, was accepted by the Emperor Leopold in a diploma 
of the 21st August, 1690, followed up by letters patent of the 20th 
August, 1691, and a confirmatory diploma of the 4th March, 1695. 

In this political bargain between the Hapsburg Monarchy and the 
Serb refugees in territory under Hapsburg rule, what the Serbs were 
demanding and the Monarchy was granting in substance was that an 
Orthodox Christian people under the dominion, and in the territory, of 
a Western Power should continue to enjoy a non-territorial communal 
autonomy on the temporal as well as the ecclesiastical plane which it had 
previously enjoyed as a millet of the Ottoman Empire, 3 but which was at 
variance with the Modern Western political principle of territorial 

1 This undiscriminating appeal by a representative of one Christian denomination 
to representatives of all Christian denominations was a new departure in Western 
history, and it is significant that the cue thus given in a.D. 1690 by a Catholic Hapsburg 
Emperor was followed by an Orthodox Romanov Emperor in A.D. 17x1. In the pro¬ 
clamation to the Ottoman Christians which Peter the Great issued in March 1711, on 
the eve of his invasion of Moldavia (sec p. 127, n. 3, above), the Tsar, like his Caesarean 
Majesty, ‘came forward avowedly as the liberator of the Christians, Catholic as well as 
Orthodox’ (Sumner, op. cit., p. 46). A professedly ‘enlightened’ Russia that had entered 
the field as Austria’s competitor in a race for the acquisition of the Ottoman Empire’s 
heritage in South-East Europe was under double pressure not to fall below a Hapsburg 
standard of religious toleration. 

» Hadrovics estimates the number at 70,000-100,000 in op. cit., p. 140, n. r. 

J For this Ottoman institution, sec pp. 184-6, below. 



168 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
sovereignly. In virtue of thus bringing themselves, in despite of their 
own traditions, to be as liberal as their Ottoman adversaries had been 
towards an Orthodox Christian people for whose allegiance they were 
now competing, the Hapsburgs succeeded in winning the refugee Serbs’ 
loyalty; 1 * * and, in the sequel, these Serb Orthodox Christian subjects of 
the Hapsburg Monarchy living in Hungary and in the Militargrcnzen* 
under their traditional Ottoman communal constitution became the 
psychologically conductive medium through which the Modern Western 
culture penetrated the Serb people as a whole. 


Channels of Western Cultural Penetration into an Ottoman Orthodox 
Christendom 

What were the geographical channels through which this Modern 
Western cultural influence seeped into the main body of Orthodox 
Christendom ? 

The oldest channel was the fraction of Orthodox Christian territory 
remaining under Venetian rule in the Levant, which played the same 
part in the relations between the main body of Orthodox Christendom 
and the Modern West as was played in the relations between a Russian 
Orthodox Christendom and the Modern West by the Russian Orthodox 
Christian territories under the sovereignty of Poland-Lithuania. 5 Crete, 
for example, by the date of the fall of Candia in a.d. 1669, had been 
under Venetian rule for more than 450 years 4 —a length of tenure which, 
in the records of Modem Western colonial empires down to the year 
a.d. 1952, had been surpassed only by Portugal, and this only in her 
possessions in and off the west coast of Africa. 5 During the Early 
Modern chapter that was the last chapter in the history of Venetian rule 
in Crete, the strength of the Modern Western cultural influence on the 
local Greek Orthodox Christian population was revealed by their produc¬ 
tion of a literature in the contemporary Western vein in a Modern 
Greek linguistic dress; and it is significant that not only the Italianatc 
Modern Greek painter Dhommikos Thcotokdpoulos, alias ‘El Greco’ 
[vivebat a.d. 1541-1614), 6 but the Calvinistic Modem Greek Oecumeni¬ 
cal Patriarch Kyrillos Lotikaris ( vivebat a.d. 1572-1638), was born in 
Crete as a Venetian subject. 7 

The cutting off of this Cretan line of cultural communications be- 

1 On the other hand, ns late as a.d. 1698, George Kastridtis, an envoy from the Hos- 
podar of Wallachia to Moscow, was writing to Mazepa, the Hetman of the Ukraine, 
who was at this date in the Muscovite camp: ‘We all pray with tears for the Sovereign 
Monarch [Peter the Great] to save us from the Papists and Jesuits, who rage against 
the Orthodox more than against the Turks and Jews . . . The secular war may finish 
some time, but the Jesuit war never.’ This extract from Kastridtis’ letter is quoted by 
Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Ottoman Empire (Oxford 1950, Blackwell), p. 34. 

1 For these Militiirgrenzen, see V. v. 462-3 and VI. vii. 117. 

J See pp. 128-9, above. 

* The effective occupation of Crete by the Venetians had begun in a.d. 1212. 

* The Portuguese had discovered the Cape Verde Islands in a . d . 1456 and Angola in 

A.D. 1484. The Spanish as well as the Portuguese colonial empire would, of course, have 
to be dated back a hundred years earlier than that if the Azores, Madeira, and the 
Canaries were to be reckoned as colonial acquisitions and not as extensions of Portugal’s 
and Spain’s metropolitan territories. 6 See IV. iv. 360-1. 

7 See Pichler, op. cit., p. 37; Rhenidris, op. cit., p. 4. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 169 
tween Greek Orthodox Christendom and the Modern West through the 
Ottoman conquest of Crete in a.d. 1645-69 was partially offset by the 
Venetian conquest of the Morea in a.d. 1684-99, which brought under 
Venetian rule a larger Greek Orthodox Christian population than had 
been lost to Venice in her successive forfeitures of territory to the 
Ottoman Empire between a.d. 1463 and a.d. 1669.’ Though these 
Venetian acquisitions in Continental Greece were reconquered by the 
‘Osmanlis in a.d. 1715, an ephemeral political episode had lasting cul¬ 
tural effects 2 because the Venetian Signoria had experienced, between 
a.d. 1669 and a.d. 1684, the same rather sudden change of heart that 
overtook the Hapsburg Monarchy in the same generation. The griev¬ 
ances of Venice’s Moreot subjects during their thirty years’ experience 
of Venetian rule at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
were not religious but fiscal and economic. 1 Orthodox Christian pupils 
were free to attend the schools and colleges founded by the Venetians in 
the Morea* during an occupation of the peninsula which, so long as it 
lasted, made it impossible for an obscurantist Oecumenical Patriarch, 
as well as for his more tolerant master the Ottoman Padishah, to exercise 
his jurisdiction over the Moreots; and the Moreot Greek municipal 
institutions, which were so important a factor in the Greek uprising of 
a.d. 1821 and in the subsequent establishment of an independent Greek 
national state on a Western pattern, were in part a legacy of a system of 
municipal government that had been introduced into the Morea during 
this Venetian occupation on the model of the contemporary regime in 
the North Italian city-states under Venetian hegemony, though they 
were also in part a gradual and undesigned product of the Ottoman 
practice of tax-farming. 5 

After the Morea and Tinos had gone the same way in a.d. 1715 as 
Crete in a.d. 1669 and Cyprus in a.d. 1571 and Negrepont in a.d. 1474, 
a remnant of Greek Orthodox Christian population still remained under 
Venetian rule in the Ionian Islands. The Ionian Islanders, who were 
subject to a culturally alien political domination from the twelfth and 

» See IV. iv. 279. 

i This Venetian occupation of the Morea, and the contemporary and subsequent 
Hapsburg occupation of Serbia, have been cited in another context (in V. v. 63778) 
as examples of ephemeral intrusions, on the part of Modem Western empires, which 
had been followed, after an equally ephemeral restoration of an anaen rtgwit, , by the 
establishment, in the same territory, of a parochial national state on the Modem 

j'see $nUy!op. cit., vol. v, pp. 208-9. According to Sakellarios, M. V.: 'Hntlovov- 
\moos Kara Atvripav TovpKOKfxncav (1715-^21) (Athena 1939, Byzantinisch- 
Neugriechischcn JahrbQcher), pp. 121-2, the Venetians had killed Moreot Greek com¬ 
merce and, though they had encouraged agriculture in the Morea, they had prohibited the 
export of the produce (except for wine) to foreign markets. Their financial policy in the 
Morea had created a currency famine there (see ibid., p. 126). After the Ottoman recon¬ 
quest of the Morea in A.D. 1715, the trade of the country was thrown open to all nations, 
and production in the Morea increased (see ibid., pp. 124-5). These financial and econo¬ 
mic considerations explain why it was that in a.d. 1715 the; Greek Orthodox Christian 
population of the Morea sided with the Turks against the Venetians (see ibid., p. 41). 
At the same time, Leondiri was the only place in the Morea whew the Turkish re¬ 
conquest in a.d. 1715 was followed by conversions to Islam in appreciable numbers (see 
ibid., p. H7>—in contrast to the religious sequel to the Turkish conquest of Candia in 
a.d. 1669 (see p. 164, above). 

* See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 212. 

s Sec Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, pp. 197-9. 

B 2898. vm 


G 2 



170 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

thirteenth centuries 1 to a.d. 1864,* were unique in being the only Greek 
Orthodox Christians to be visited with an almost unbroken succession 
of Western masters; 3 and the Venetian landowners who constituted the 
Western ‘ascendancy’ here were likewise unique, for their part, in having 
become converts from their ancestral Roman Catholic Christianity to 
the Orthodoxy of the local Greek peasantry without having become 
apostates from their ancestral Western culture, and in having learnt to 
communicate with their agricultural labourers, tenants, body servants, 
and mistresses in the local Romaic Greek vernacular without having 
abandoned their traditional use of Italian as the exclusive language of 
polite society and exclusive linguistic medium for education and literary 
composition. The death-knell of this remote outpost of a Western 
ancien regime was sounded by the French Revolution; yet, before the 
merger of an old Ionian landowning aristocracy in a new democratic 
Greek nation was expedited by the union of the Hcptancse with the 
Kingdom of Greece in a.d. 1864, these seven diminutive plots of com¬ 
mon ground between the two Christendoms had given birth to two 
islanders who each played an eminent part in the transmission of a 
Modern Western culture to an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom. The 
first of the two was the Corfiot Greek Westernizing philosopher-educa¬ 
tionalist Evy&iios Voiilgharis (vivebat a.d. 1716-1806)/ who was born 
a Venetian subject. The second was the Zantiot Italian aristocrat- 
poetaster Count Dionisio Salomone (vivebat a.d. 1798-1857), who died 
under a British protectorate after having won fame in the West, as well 
as in a Greek Orthodox Christendom, as the great Greek poet Dhionysios 
Solomos. 5 

Even in the Early Modern Age of religious faith and fanaticism, 
Venice had been appreciably less intolerant than most contemporary 
Western states/ either Catholic or Protestant. The Signoria was no 
friend of the Society of Jesus; at the University of Padua, which served 
the Venetian dominions, there was a relative freedom of philosophical 
thought; 7 it had become customary for Cretans to seek a higher educa¬ 
tion there; 8 and colleges for Greek students were founded at both Padua 
and Venice between a.d. 1590 and a.d. 1642/ Cyril Loukaris’ kinsman 

* Corfii was seized by the Genoese pirate Vefrano in a.d. 1199 and by the Venetians 
in a.d. 1206, but was recovered in a.d. 1214, and held till A.D. 1259, by the Epirot Greek 
successor-state of the East Roman Empire, before being permanently annexed to West¬ 
ern Christendom by Manfred of Sicily. Ccfalonia and Zante were seized by the Sicilian 
Normans area a.d. 118 s. 

1 The date at which Great Britain renounced her protectorate and allowed the Ionian 
Islanders to fulfil their desire for union with the Kingdom of Greece. 

J This succession was technically broken during the years A.D. 1800-7, when the 
Ionian Islanders were autonomous under a Russo-Ottoman protectorate. In the heyday 
of the Ottoman Power the 'Osmanlis had succeeded occasionally in occupying some of 
the islands temporarily without ever managing to confirm their hold. 

« See pp. j 60-1, above. . _ _ J Sec pp. 670-80, below. 

4 Rhenidris, op. cit., p. 4, points out the significance of this fact in the present 
context. 

7 'Padua fell under the rule of Venice from A.D. 1404, and Venice was the most success¬ 
fully anti-clerical state in Europe both at this time and for long afterwards. The freedom 
of thought enjoyed by Padua attracted the ablest men, not only from the whole of the 
Italian Peninsula, but also from the rest of Europe—William Hcrvcy . . . being a con¬ 
spicuous example of this' (Butterfield, II.: The Origins of Modern Science, 1300-1800 
(London 1949, Bell), p. 43)- Sc« also Mettetal, op. cit., p. 19. 

* See Rhemdris, op. cit., p. 5. 9 Sec Pichler, op. cit, p. 40. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 171 
and patron Meletios Pighis, the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, had 
studied in Venice, but had been debarred from taking a degree by his 
refusal to subscribe to Roman Catholic doctrine and recognize Papal 
supremacy, and had acquired in consequence a strong animus against 
the Roman Church . 1 Meletios nevertheless sent Loukaris, in his turn, 
to Venice for his education at the age of twelve ; 1 and, after spending four 
years there, Loiikaris went on to spend seven further years as a student 
at Padua . 3 Lodkaris’ younger contemporary and outstanding opponent 
Meletios Syrighos ( natus a.d. 1585) was likewise a Cretan and likewise 
an alumnus of the University of Padua, where he studied mathematics, 
physics, and medicine ; 4 but the privilege of studying in the Venetian 
University of Padua was not confined to Greek Orthodox Christians 
who were Venetian subjects. At Padua Loukaris made friends with his 
fellow student Nikiphdros Korydhalldfs of Athens , 5 who in a.d. 1624, 
after Loukaris had become Oecumenical Patriarch, was to open at 
Constantinople a school of a Calvinist complexion 6 and was to be 
anathematized, like Loukaris himself, after Lodkaris’ final fall and 
death . 7 The Chiot Alexander Mavrogorddto, too, studied medicine at 
Padua 8 like the Cretan Syrighos, though, like the Athenian Korydhallcfs, 
he was an Ottoman subject. 

Another channel through which Modern Western influence flowed 
into the main body of Orthodox Christendom was the Western diplo¬ 
matic corps at Constantinople, which became a force there during the 
eclipse of the Ottoman Power after the death of Suleyman the Magnifi¬ 
cent in a.d. 1566. During the Thirty Years’ War (gerebatur a.d. 1618-48) 
Constantinople, like Berne during the general War of a.d. 1914-18 and 
Lisbon during the general war of a.d. 1939-45, was a theatre of diplo¬ 
matic hostilities on militarily neutral ground, and the diplomatic contest 
that centred on the person of Cyril Loukaris has been described as a 
repercussion of the contemporary struggle between Roman Catholicism 
and Protestantism in the West . 9 The Dutch, English, Swedish, and 
Venetian ambassadors were in league, at the time when Loukaris 
ascended the Oecumenical Throne, against their Hapsburg and French 
confreres , 10 and Loukaris’ intimacy with the Protestant diplomatic circles 
in his see brought him not only local Western political patronage but 
widespread Western cultural contacts—as is testified by his correspon¬ 
dence with the Dutch theologian Uytenbogaert and the Dutch states¬ 
man David le Leu dc Wilhem. 

• See Pichler, op. cit.. p. 41. * See Pichler, op. cit., p. 4 °- 

J See Pichler, op. cit., pp. 45 and 49 - 4 See Pich er, op. cit., p. 20S. 

s See Pichler. op. cit., p. 47 - 6 See Pichler. op. cit., p. « 43 - 

7 Korydhalltfs was anathematized by the Constantinopolitan Orthodox Church tor 
objecting to the use of the Greek word utrovoiajois as a translation of the Latin word 
transsubstaniiatio (Pichler. op. cit.. p. 221). 

8 The monument of Alexander Mavrogordito’s studies at Padua was a Herveian trea¬ 
tise in Latin on the circulation of the blood: Pncumaticwn Instrumentum Ctradandi 
Sanguinis, site de Motu el Usu Pulmonum Dissertatio Philosophtco-medica, Aulhore 
AUxandro Mavrocordato Constantinopolitano, Philosophiae el MedutnaeDoclore (Bologna 

other edition was published at Frankfurt in A.D. 
E.: Bibliographic HelUnique, ou Description Raison- 
au Dix-Septtimc SUcle, vol. ii (Paris 1894, Picard), 

PP i See"]Rheniiris, op. cit., p. 30- 10 Sec PichIer » op. cit., p. 113. 


1664, Typographia Fcrromana). An 
166s by T. M. Goetz (See Legrand, 
nie des Outrages Publics par des Grecs 


172 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Thereafter, when the rally of the Ottoman Power under the leadership 
of the House of Kopriilu was followed by a final lapse into dissolution, 
the classic Ottoman political principle of non-territorial autonomy for all 
communities in the Empire, not excluding resident aliens,' enabled the 
embassies of Western Powers in Constantinople to erect themselves into 
miniature imperia in imperio reigning, not only over their own nationals 
in Ottoman territory, but also over Ottoman subjects who were their 
official proteges. The germs of these Western protectorates can be 
detected in some of the provisions of the capitulations granted to 
England by the Porte in September 1675/ and in the Hapsburg- 
Ottoman capitulatory treaty of the 27th July, 1718. 3 In the capitulations 
granted to France in May 1740 these germs blossomed into a provision 
authorizing the French Ambassador to maintain fifteen Ottoman subjects 
as his servants free from taxation * After the Great Russo-Turkish War 
of a.d. 1768-74, which was a milestone in the course of the Ottoman 
Empire’s decline, this privilege of exercising a protectorate over Otto¬ 
man subjects was extended to other capitulatory Powers, and the Porte 
presented each embassy with a certain number of blank ‘certificates of 
denaturalization’ (as the Ottoman term herd'at might be interpreted in 
this context), which the ambassadors were then free to bestow upon 
Ottoman subjects of their own choice. 5 

The Western embassies were more successful in abusing this privilege 6 
than the Porte was in its belated attempts to restrict its scope. 7 The 
consequence was that an appreciable number of Greek Orthodox 
Christian and other Ottoman subjects came to participate in the fiscal 
privileges that gave the nationals of capitulatory Powers a decisive 
advantage over non-privileged Ottoman subjects in the now increasingly 
important trade between the Ottoman Empire and the West ; 8 and this 
made Ottoman subjects engaged in foreign trade so eager to obtain the 
official protection of foreign governments that, shortly before the year 
1824, 9 the Ottoman Government sought to reduce this incentive by 
granting ‘most favoured foreign nation treatment’ to Ottoman subjects 
trading with foreign countries who were not the official proteges of 
foreign embassies. 10 

1 This principle and the institutions in which it was embodied arc examined on pp. 
184-6. below. 

1 Arts. 28, 45, and 59. 3 Art. 5. 

4 Ait. 47. In the same instrument the incipient rights of protectorate already secured 
by England and the Hapsburg Monarchy were conferred on France likewise in Aits. 
13 . 43 . 45 . 46, and 50. 

J bee Finlay, op. cit., vol. vj, p. 107. 

* See d’Ohsson, I. M.: Tableau Udniral dt VEmpire Ottoman (Paris 1788-1824, 
Didot, 7 vols.), vol. vii, pp. 506-8. 

1 Such attempts were made in the Anglo-Turkish peace treaty of the 6th January, 
1809, Art. 9, and in the American-Turkish commercial treaty of the 7 th May, 1830, 
Art. e. 

* Sec d’Ohsson, op. cit., vol. vii, pp. 235 and 239. 

9 shortly before the publication of the last volume of d’Ohsson’s work in that 
year. 

1® Sec d’Ohsson, op. cit., vol. vii, p. 509. The two principal benefits thereby extended 
to non-protected Ottoman subjects were the issue of certificates of privilege and the 
limitation of the rate of customs duties payable by them to the 3 per cent, ad valorem 
which was at that time the maximum rate payable by the nationals and the Ottoman 
prot 6 gis of the capitulatory Powers. The first instrument in which a definite rate of 
customs duty ad valorem was fixed by mutual agreement would appear to have been the 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 173 

This was a striking inversion of a stipulation in the Franco-Turkish 
capitulatory treaty of February, 1535,' that French merchants were to 
pay no higher duties than Ottoman subjects. That treaty was the arche¬ 
type of all instruments, bilateral or unilateral, conferring capitulatory 
privileges in the Ottoman Empire on Modern Western Powers and their 
nationals; and Ottoman subjects had indeed profited at the expense of 
Westerners, in the competition for the profits of the maritime trade in 
the Mediterranean, as a result of the political union of the main body 
of Orthodox Christendom with the greater part of the Arabic World 
under Ottoman rule at the beginning of the Modem Age of Western 
history. 

The first commercial effect of this political revolution in the Levant 
had been to strike a deadly blow at the commerce of Venice, 2 Genoa, and 
the other North Italian communities that had been progressively wrest¬ 
ing the maritime commerce of the Mediterranean out of Greek hands 
since the eleventh century of the Christian Era; and, though the Greeks 
too had been hard hit, economically as well as politically, by the Ottoman 
conquest, 1 while all participants in the Mediterranean maritime trade 
had suffered alike from a conquest of the Ocean by West European 
peoples who had thereby turned the Mediterranean into a backwater, 4 
the Greek subjects of the Porte found themselves, as a result of the 
Ottoman conquest, in a stronger position for competing with the Franks 
in the Mediterranean trade, even before they came to benefit from the 
commercial privileges which the Modern Western Great Powers were 
granted by the Porte from a.d. 1673 onwards. 5 The maritime trade via 
the Mediterranean, on which the ‘Osmanlis’ Greek subjects thus secured 
and maintained a hold, was another channel through which Western 
cultural influences seeped into the main body of Orthodox Christendom, 6 
and the cultural intercourse became more active as the Mediterranean 
came back to commercial life at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries. 7 Colonics of Ottoman Greek merchants were to be found in 

capitulations granted to France on the 5th June, 1673. In this instrument, Additional 
Article 5, it is laid down that import and export duties payable by French merchants are 
to be reduced from 5 per cent., at which they had previously stood, to 3 per cent. 

' Article 3. 

a In the eighteenth century the Greek subjects of Venice in the Ionian Islands pre¬ 
ferred to trade under the Ottoman flag (Sakellarios, op. cit., p. 128). 

3 The greatest single economic blow that was dealt to the Greeks by their Ottoman 
conquerors was the settlement of Sephardi Jewish refugees from the Iberian Peninsula 
in the chief commercial centres of the Ottoman Empire—e.g. Salonica, Adrianople, 
Constantinople—to fill an economic vacuum created by the expulsion of the major part 
of the former Greek population of these cities (sec II. ii. 245-6). 

* Chios, for example, was hit by this diversion of the main channel of world trade 
(Argenti, P, P.: Chius Vircta (Cambridge, 1941. University Press), pp. xli-xlii). From 
the sixteenth century to circa a . d . 1791 the Chiots’ main economic activities were 
agriculture and manufactures, not commerce (David, C. E., French Vice-Consul at 
Chios: Dispatch dated 14th June, 1824 = Ministire des Affaires Etrangires, Paris, 
Correspondance Consulaire de Scio. 1812-25 D-, No. 39 bl * enclosing 'Mdmoire sur 
Scio’: printed in Argenti, P. P.: The Massacres of Chios described in Contemporary 
Diplomatic Documents (London 1932, Lane), pp. 52-95, especially p. 67). 

s For this date, sec p. 172, n. to, above. 

6 The Chiots, for example, went to the West first in order to do business, but after¬ 
wards also in order to obtain a Western education (David, op. cit., p. 78). 

2 The Mediterranean did not, of course, recover the position that it hud held before 
the Oceanic Age; the Ocean continued to be the principal medium of communication 
for a World that had been united by the Oceanic enterprise of West European peoples; 



174 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
the Mediterranean ports of Western Christendom as early as the six¬ 
teenth century ; 1 and the notable increase in the trade between the 
Ottoman Empire and a geographically expanding Western World which 
declared itself towards the end of the eighteenth century was marked by 
the establishment of Greek commercial colonies in London, Liverpool, 
Manchester, and New York as well as in Venice, Leghorn, Marseilles, 
and Trieste . 1 These Greek settlements in partibus Occidentalium came 
to act like lenses which focused the cultural influence of the West and 
transmitted it to the Levant in concentrated rays of a high degree of 
potency. 

The economic and consequent cultural opportunities opened up to 
Greek Ottoman subjects by this revival of maritime trade between the 
Levant and the West via the Mediterranean were made the most of by a 
few maritime Ottoman communities that enjoyed some measure of local 
autonomy, whether by charter or by custom or merely by oversight. 1 
The outstanding chartered communities were the mastic-growing island 
of Chios, the olive-growing peninsula of Ayvalyq (Kydhonies), 4 and the 
two continental Greek portlets of Ghalaxtdhi 5 on the Gulf of Corinth and 
Trikdri 6 commanding the entrance to the Gulf of Volo. Among the 
communities that benefited by custom or oversight were the previously 
derelict Aegean islands Hydhra 7 and Pdtses, 8 off the coast of the Argolid, 
which were colonized in the eighteenth century by Orthodox Christian 


but in the course of the eighteenth century the Mediterranean did begin to change from 
being a mere backwater in an Oceanic system of waterways into becoming a through- 
route between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean which had the advantage of being a 
short cut. This rehabilitation of the Mediterranean was consummated by the opening 
of the Suez Canal in a.d. 1869 (sec IV. iv. 23), but the process had begun at least a hun¬ 
dred years before that. One cause of it was the progressive establishment of British rule 
in India, beginning with Bengal, which led the British to search for a shorter and quicker 
route between England and India than the Oceanic route via the Cape of Good Hope 
(sec Hoskins, H. L.: British Routes to India (London 1928, Longmans Green)). A second 
cause was the opening up of a new continental hinterland to the Mediterranean through 
the replacement of Nomadism by the sedentary civilization of Russian Orthodox 
Christendom in the Great Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe along the north coast of 
the Black Sea as a consequence of the Russian victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 
a.d. 1768-74 (see III. iii. 428). A third cause was the Westernization of Egypt, which 
was initiated by the French military invasion in a.d. 1798. 

1 See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 156. 

1 The Chiots, for example, who appear to have had no permanent commercial 
establishments abroad before a.d. 1780, began to settle in Western and Russian maritime 
and commercial entrepfits from about that date onwards. Two members of the Ralli 
family can be traced as far back as a.d. 17S0 in Leghorn; and there was an Avierino at 
Taganrog by a.d. 1795; “ Zarakhnni and a Zizinia at the same Russian port in a.d. 1805; 
a Kapparis at Theodosia and a Rhodhokandkis at Genoa by the same year; an Argcnti. a 
Psyknas, and a Ralli at Amsterdam by a.d. 1810; a Galatti and a Psykhas at Isma'il by 
the same year; and an Argcnti at Marseilles by A.D. 1818 (Argcnti, The Massacres of 
Chios, p. xxiv, n. 1). After the catastrophe of A.D. 1822, Chiot refugees founded further 
colonics in Constantinople, Egypt, the new dominions of Russia along the north coast 
of the Black Sea, Leghorn, Trieste, Vienna, Marseilles. Paris, London, Liverpool, 
Manchester, and the Lnited States of America (ibid., pp. xxiii-xxiv; cp. Chius Vincia, p. 
cxcviii). Chiot emigrants seem to have been quicker than other Greek emigrants to adapt 
themselves to the Western way of life (Chius Vincia. p. exxi). Committees for raising 
funds for education in Chios were organized by the Chiot diaspora in Trieste, Leghorn, 
Marseilles. Paris. London, Liverpool, and Manchester (ibid., p. ccxvi). 

J See II. ii. 262. * For Ayvalyq, sec II, ii. 40, n. 1. 

-* See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 281, and vol. vi, p. 167. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 175 
Albanians from the Morea, and Kdsos 1 and Psar&, 2 in the Sporades, 
which were colonized in the same age by Orthodox Christian Greeks.* 

The attraction of these barren islands, and of the stony peninsula of 
Ayvalyq, was a hope of escaping the increasing fiscal oppression under 
which the Orthodox Christian settlers on these uninviting spots had 
been suffering in their previous homes in an age when a declining 
Ottoman Power was no longer able to protect its subjects against its 
agents. The colonist-islanders—who had to fling themselves on the sea 
as their only alternative to starvation—found favour with an Ottoman 
Government that in this age was eager to foster a native maritime popu¬ 
lation both as a counter-move in the commercial field to Western 
encroachments on Ottoman commerce and as a reservoir in the military 
field for the man-power of an Ottoman Navy on the Modern Western 
model. 

The Qapudan Pasha Hiiseyn Jezayrli, who as Grand Admiral was ex 
officio governor of the Archipelago and the Mani, 4 had no fewer than 

1 Sec Finlay, op. cit., vol. vi, p. 166. 

» See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 281, and vol. vi, p. 167. 

1 The autonomy enjoyed by these maritime Ottoman Greek communities that turned 
it to commercial account was shared by a number of highland communities, most of 
which also adjoined the sea. We may notice the MAni in the Morea; SphakiA in Crete; 
and KhimArrha, the Armatoli of Pindus and the Agrapha, the Elefterokhdria, Mount 
Athos, the Pclion ZagorA and the Dhervenokhdria in Rumili. Of these all but the Mini, 
SphakiA, and KhimArrha were officially recognized by the Porte. 

The Mini was independent dtjacio till a.d. 1670, the year after the Ottoman conquest 
of Candia (Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, pp. 116-17); ,n that year it was compelled to receive 
Ottoman garrisons and to pay kharfii; in a.d. 1685 it made a pact with Venice through 
which it secured autonomy under Venetian rule (Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 205). After 
the Ottoman reconquest of the Morea in a.d. 1715, the Maniots retained their autonomy 
but were compelled to resume payment of kharfij. They joined the Russians when these 
invaded the Morea in a.d. 1770 (Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, pp. 252-3), and reacknowledged 
the sovereignty of the Porte in a.d. 1777. In A.D. 1S03-4 they were again brought to 
heel by the Ottoman authorities after they had flirted with the French (Sakcllarios, op. 
cit., pp. 236-7). In a.d. i82r their chieftain Petrobcy gave the signal for the Greek 
national uprising by attacking the Ottoman garrison of MistrA. 

SphakiA was compelled to pay khnrSj in a.d. 1770 (Finlay, op. cit., vol. v. pp. xii and 
263). Its autonomy was respected in practice by the Porte thereafter (Finlay, op. cit., 
vol. vi, p. 4). 

The Khimarrhiots made the living that they could not wring out of the rocks of Acro- 
ccraunus by serving as mercenaries in the armies of Venice and Naples (see Mozart’s Cosi 
Fan Tulli, lutum a.d. 1790). 

The Armatoli have been noticed already in another context in V. v. 297-8* 

The Elcftcrokhdria were three confederations of villages on the Peninsula of Khalkid- 
hikl which governed themselves and collected their own taxes under the superintendence 
of an Ottoman resident backed by a token military force (Finlay, op. cit., vol. vi p. 202). 

Mount Athos (’the Holy Mountain’) was an autonomous federal republic of Orthodox 
Christian monasteries, including representatives of most of the Orthodox Christian 
nationalities, though the Greeks had a great preponderance. Here too the Porte %vaa 
represented merely by a resident (Finlav, op. cit., vol. vi, pp. 203-4). 

The ZagorA ( Slavicf ‘Among the Mountains’) was a cluster of densely populated 
Greek Orthodox Christian villages running up the western flank of Mount Pelion over¬ 
looking the Plain of Thessaly. Its autonomy was recognized by the Porte and ad¬ 
ministered by elective magistrates (Finlay, op. cit., vol. vi, pp. 200-1). 

The Dhervcnokhdria were five Albanian Orthodox Christian tillages, mustering two 
thousand fighting men, who were commissioned by the Porte to police the overland 
route between Rumili and the Morea over Mount Cithseron and Mount Gcraneia 
(Finlay, op. cit., vol. vi, p. 30). . 

* The QapudAn Pasha administered this governorship through the agency of his 
Phanariot Greek Orthodox Christian aecretary the Drtgoman of the Fleet (sec d’Ohsson, 
I. M.: Tableau GMral de VEmpire Ottoman (Paris 1788-1824, 7 vols.), vol. vu (Paris 
1824, Didot), p. 431, and Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 242). The Mani had been separated 
administratively from the Morea, and been added to the Qapudan Pasha’s domain, after 



176 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
two hundred Hydhriot sailors serving on board his flagship in a.d. 1797, 
and this service won for Hydhra valuable privileges. In a.d. 1802 the 
Qapud 3 n Pasha appointed a native Hydhriot Christian governor, and 
the taxes payable by the island to the Porte were commuted for a contin¬ 
gent of 250 men to the fleet and a gratuity to the Qapudan Pasha and his 
staff. 1 The same boons of local self-government and light taxation were 
granted to P< 5 tscs, Kdsos, and Psar& on the same considerations. Under 
these exceptionally favourable conditions the four islands and the two 
continental portlets developed a merchant marine which earned high, 
though short-lived, profits during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic 
Wars (gerebantur a.d. 1792-1815), when the Ottoman flag was the only 
neutral flag left in the Mediterranean; and the lion’s share of the trade 
carried on under this flag was secured by this handful of Ottoman 
Orthodox Christian maritime communities. 2 This windfall from a storm 
in the neighbouring Western World ceased to drop into these Ottoman 
Greek mariners’ hands as soon as the Western peoples emerged from 
their Napoleonic bout of fratricidal warfare; 3 and the unemployment, 
distress, and discontent arising from the rapid decline in the volume of 
their commercial business after a.d. 1815 made these communities ready, 

a.d. 1777, when it had reacknowledgcd the sovereignty of the Porte, which had been in 
abeyance there since the Russian descent on the Morea in a.d. 1770 (Finlay, op. cit., 
vol. v, pp. 265-6). 

1 See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 283, and vol. vi, pp. 32-33. 

2 See Sakcllarios, op. cit., pp. 212-15. In this lucrative but ephemeral Ottoman Greek 
trade the Chiots found a leading role to play. About the year A.D. 1780 their manufac¬ 
tures—of which the most valuable was a silk industry inherited from the period of 
Genoese rule—had succumbed to Western industrial competition; but, after the out¬ 
break of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in the West, Chiot capitalists financed 
the Hydhriot, Pctaiot, and Psariot merchant marine that was earning profits by carrying 
grain, oil, and other produce of the Ottoman Empire from Anatolia, Salonica, and Egypt 
to the ports of the Napoleonic French Empire. The Chiots then established business 
houses at Marseilles, Trieste, and Leghorn (see p. 179, n. 2, above) to correspond with 
their houses at Constantinople, Salonica, and above all at Smyrna, where Chiot enter¬ 
prise had made an entrepflt for the exchange of Western manufactures with the products 
of the interior of Anatolia. After the annexation of Croatia to the French Empire in a.d. 
1809, the Chiots took part, from their commercial bases in Salonica and Smyrna, in an 
overland trade which the French proceeded to open up via Bosnia with the Ottoman 
World. From Constantinople, Chiot merchants exported cloth to Austria. Chios made 
her fortune in twenty years (David, op. cit., pp. 67-70). 

Even the hitherto almost exclusively agrarian Ottoman Greek community in the 
Morea shared in this temporary commercial prosperity. When the liquidation of the 
Venetian dominion over the Morea in a.d. 1715 had been followed by the collapse of 
the local Venetian commercial supremacy, the Venetian commercial heritage in the Morea 
had been captured, not by the Moreot Greeks, but by the French (see Sakcllarios, op. 
cit., pp. 126-8). The cereal* exported from the Morea had all been shipped to Marseilles, 
while the currant crop had been shipped to Great Britain and Holland (ibid., pp. 128 
and 210). There is no record of Greek merchants participating in the trade of the Morea 
before the foundation of a commercial company by Bcndki of Kalamita in a.d. 1761 
(ibid., pp. 128-0). The French traders in the Morea were, however, ruined by the 
abortive Greek Christian insurrection and retaliatory Albanian Muslim barbarian con¬ 
quest in a.d. 1770-9 (ibid., p. 216); what remained of the eighteenth-century trade 
through a French channel was paralysed by the outbreak of the French Revolution 
(ibid., p. 212); and, when the Napoleonic Wars offered their golden opportunity to 
neutral Ottoman carriers, Moreot landowners, Turkish as well as Greek, stepped into 
the ruined French merchants’ shoes (ibid.,pp. 211, 218, and 244). 

3 This commercial stagnation after a.d. 1815 made itself felt in Chios as well as in the 
seafaring Greek islands (David, op. cit., p. 71). Yet the trade between Chios and the 
West nevertheless remained so important that the catastrophe of a.d. 1822 was reported 
by the Hapsburg Intcmuncio at Constantinople to have been severely felt in many towns 
in Germany, France, Italy, and England (Argcnti, P. P.: The Massacres of Chios, pp. 
xv-xvi and 127). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 177 
in a.d. 1821, to join in a Greek national insurrection—inspired by 
Western political ideas—which held out hopes for them of replacing 
the dwindling profits of trade by the spoils of buccaneering. 1 

In the Westernization of the main body of Orthodox Christendom 
through the maritime channel, a particularly important part was played 
by the Greek island of Chios, which had been under Western rule for 
just about two and a half centuries by the date of its annexation to the 
Ottoman Empire in a.d. 1566, 2 and which retained both its Western 
political constitution 5 and its Western cultural complexion 4 under 

• Statistics of the number of families, and the number of ships of a tonnage of over 
a hundred tons, to be found at Hy-dhra, PAtses, KAsos, Psari, Ghalaxldhi, and TrikAri 
in a.d. 1 Sax, on the eve of the Greek uprising of that year, are given in Finlay, op. cit., 
vol. vi, p. 167. 

* Chios fell into the hands of a piratical Genoese family, the Zaccaria, in the reign of 
the Hast Roman Emperor Andronicus II Palaioldghos (imperabat a.d. 1282-1328). 
During the last 220 years before the Ottoman conguest the Western masters of Chios 
were a Genoese chartered company, the Maons, which had obtained possession of the 
island in a.d. 1346 after its liberation from the Zaccaria in a.d. 1329. 

J The Chiots twice secured the restoration of their traditional institutions of self- 
Rovemment after an Ottoman military occupation, because the ‘Osmanlis had the wit 
to realize that the economic prosperity of the island, which was so profitable for the 
Ottoman treasury, might evaporate if the islanders were no longer to be allowed to 
manage their own affairs in their own way. 

After the original annexation in a.d. 1566, a Chiot deputation, led by the ‘Latin' (i.e. 
Roman Catholic) bishop, and including one representative each of the Greek Church, 
the Greek merchants, the Latin merchants, and the Greek nobility, obtained from the 
Porte in A.D. 1567. through the good offices of the Qapudan Pasha Pialc, who had been 
the Porte’s instrument in annexing Chios to the Ottoman Empire in the preceding year, 
a charter rcconfcrring self-government on the islanders and exempting them from the 
dtvrishmi (the recurrent levy of children for the Padishah’s Slave-Household) and from 
other ills to which the unprivileged ra'iyeh were subject (Argcnti: Chius Vincta, pp. 
cxxxvii-clix). This charter of A.D. 1567 was followed in a.d. 1578 by another which was 
still more favourable, particularly in the matter of taxation (ibid., p. clix). More than a 
hundred years later, in a.d. 1696, after the Ottoman reconquest of Chios on the 21st 
February, 1695, from the Venetians, who had occupied the island on the 12th September, 
1694, the Sultan expressly reconfirmed the island’s constitutional privileges at the inter¬ 
cession of Alexander MavrogordAto (ibid., pp. clxxiv-v). 

Chios appears to have enjoyed greater security under Ottoman than under Genoese 
rule, and to have found it less difficult to obtain redress for its grievances from the suze¬ 
rain Power (Argcnti: Chius Vincta, p. cxxiii). 

One effect of the restoration of the island’s local autonomy under Ottoman auspices 
was to transfer political power in the island from a ‘Latin’ Roman Catholic minority 
of Genoese origin to a Greek Orthodox Christian majority—or at any rate to an aristo¬ 
cratic minority of this majority. By the terms of their capitulation to the Genoese 
conqueror Simone Vignoso on the 12th September, 1346, the Greek inhabitants of 
Chios had transferred their allegiance from the Imperial Government at Constantinople 
to the Republic of Genoa on the conditions (among others) that they should be allowed 
to retain their ancestral religion and customs, including the right to elect their own 
Metropolitan, and the existing privileges of their nobility (Argenti: Chius Vincta, p. 
xlii, n. 2); but all political power had passed into the hands of the Genoese Government 
and the chartered company (maona, Arabici ma'awnah) which had financed the con- 

! aest. After the extinction of this Genoese rtgime by the ‘Osmanlis in a.d. 1566, the 
reek Orthodox Christian Chiots were admitted to office in the government of the island 
(Argcnti: Chius Vincta, p. cxxii), and they eventually gained a preponderant voice in it. 
By a.d. 1760, Chios was being governed by an Orthodox Christian oligarchy. On the 
board of dhimoyArondcs, two places out 0! five were reserved for the Greek nobility, 
one place for the Greek plebeians, and two places for the Latins (ibid., pp. clxxx- 
clxxxi). 

The ‘Latin’ minority in Chios lost ground politically, not only in consequence of the 
Ottoman annexation in a.d. 1566, which deprived it of a political ascendancy that it had 
been enjoying for more than two hundred years by that date, but also in consequence 
of the Florentine expedition against Chios in a.d. 1599 and the Venetian occupation of 
the island in A.D. 1694-5 (see Argcnti, P. P.: Tht Expedition 0/ the Florentines to Chiot, 

[Ccnf. on next poge, 

* See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, pp. 79-80. 



178 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Ottoman sovereignty. An experience and ability in business, and a 
familiarity with the West which was both a cause and a consequence of 
this economic success, qualified the Chiots for serving the Porte in its 
dealings with Western neighbours with whom it no longer found itself 
able to settle its accounts by sheer force of arms; and it was no accident 
that the first two incumbents of the office of Dragoman of the Porte, 
Panayiotikis Nikoussios (fungebatur a.d. 1669—73)' and Alexander 
Mavrogordito {fungebatur a.d. 1673-99)* were both connected with 
Chios. 3 Alexander Mavrogordato's father was a Chiot silk-merchant, 
and his maternal grandfather had made a fortune as a wholesale purveyor 
of beef to the Palace and the public markets at Constantinople. 

Thereafter, Chios produced the scholar-publicist Adhamdndios 
Korais* [vivebat a.d. 1748-1833), who, in a Greek Orthodox Christian 
Westernizing movement that sprang from below upwards, is the 
symbolic figure corresponding to the autocrat-technician Peter the 
Great in a Russian Orthodox Christian Westernizing movement that 
was imposed from above downwards. 

Korais’ father was a Chiot who had settled at Smyrna, a continental 
Anatolian port, commanding a magnificent hinterland, where Western 
merchants had been the commercial pioneers and Western influences 
counted for more than they did at Constantinople at the time. In the 
new Greek community, of divers local origins, that had been called into 
existence at Smyrna by the economic opportunities created there by 
Western enterprise, Korais’ father rose to be a churchwarden, an 
alderman (Brmoyepos), and Prime Warden of the Smyrniot Guild of 
Chiot Merchants (JJpunopaylarotp rijs rGiv Xlcuv ’EpTropcov Zwrtxyias ); 
and, though he was himself a business man of no education, his wife was 

J 599 (London 1934, Lane); cundem: The Occupation oj Chios by the Venetians, 1694 
(London 1935, Lane), which brought upon the Chiot 'Latin' community an odium and a 
mistruit, in their Ottoman suzerains’ feelings towards them, from which their Greek 
Orthodox Christian fellow islanders remained exempt. After the Ottoman reoccupation 
in a.d. 1695 the ‘Latin’ Chiota were condemned to the galley* and their property was 
distributed by the Ottoman authorities among the Orthodox Chiots, who had been 
plundered by the Venetians. At the same time the Sultan ordered all Orthodox Chiots 
who had been forcibly convened to Roman Catholicism by the Venetians to return to 
Orthodoxy. The French Ambassador at Constantinople secured from the Porte a re¬ 
vocation of the sentence on the ‘Latins’ to serve in the galleys, on condition that they 
publicly renounced Roman Catholicism and embraced Orthodoxy (Argenti, The Occupa¬ 
tion of Chiot by the Venetians, pp. xcii-xciii); but from a.d. 1695 to a.d. 1720 the Latin 
community in Chios was excluded, by fiat of the Porte, from participation in the local 
administration (Argenti: Chius Vincta, p. cci). Their subsequent recovery of their 
political rights seems to have been due to a further intervention on the pan of the French 
Ambassador at Constantinople (see Finlay, on. cit., vol. v, p. 238). 

The mastic-growing villages in the south of the island were placed by the Porte under 
a special regime. They were exempt from kharilj but had to deliver 25,000 oqas of mastic 
gum to the Porte annually free of charge, and to sell the rest of the crop to the Pone at 
the price of 24 kurush for the oqa (Argenti: Chius Vincta, pp. cclxxi-ii). 

1 Sec Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. xi; Jorga, on. cit., vol. iv, p. 281; Zolotis, G. I.: 
'Jcnopia rfjs Xtov, vol. iii. Part I (Athens 1926, Sakellarios), pp. 441-2. 

1 Sec Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, p. 242; Jorga, op. cit., vol. iv, p. 283; Zolotis, op. cit., 
vol. in, Part I, pp. 424 - 39 ; Part II (Athens 1928, Sakellarios), pp. 730-44. 

J Panayiotikis was educated at Chios, but appears to have been of Rumeliot, not of 
Chiot, origin. 

4 This surname is presumably a Greek version of an Arabic oarrd', signifying ‘an 
accomplished reader (of the Scriptures)’. The corresponding Hebrew word qara'im 
(plural) had been adopted as a name by a sect of anti-Talmudist Jews who prided 
themselves on being ‘readers (of the Law and the Prophets as opposed to the commen¬ 
taries upon them)’ (see II. ii. 411). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 179 
a schoolmaster’s daughter, and he had an ancestor, Anddnios Korais, 
who had been a doctor of medicine, had travelled to Paris, and had 
published literary works in Western Europe in the last quarter of the 
seventeenth century . 1 

The money made by Adhamdndios Korais’ father in business at 
Smyrna enabled Adhamdndios to emulate their Chiot ancestor’s career. 
In a.d. 1782 he went to the University of Montpellier 2 to study medicine 
there; in a.d. 1788 he went on to Paris; and, after imbibing there the 
Modern Western enthusiasm for the Ancient Greek classical literature, 
and witnessing the irruption of Democracy into Modern Western life 
through the French Revolution, he settled in Paris for good and devoted 
the forty-five years of his sojourn there (a.d. 1788-1833) to the service 
of his countrymen in the Levant both as a scholar and as a publicist. 
As a scholar he laboured to make the Ancient Greek classics accessible 
to his Modern Greek contemporaries by editing them with introductions 
and notes in a version of the Modem Greek language which he sought to 
fashion into a vehicle for conveying the Modern Western culture. 3 As 
a publicist he laboured to guide his compatriots in their endeavours to 
translate into political terms a latter-day aspiration to adopt the Modern 
Western way of life. 14 

Korais was alive to the importance of the part in the Modern Greek 
Westernizing movement that the Chiots had it in them to play, as he 
showed in a letter written by him from Paris on the 4th July, 1823, to 
Prince Alexander Mavrogorddto, a contemporary Greek statesman who, 
like Korais, was of Chiot origin, in virtue of being a descendant of the 
celebrated seventeenth-century Dragoman of the Porte. This Phanariot 
contemporary of Korais had thrown in his lot with the Greek insurgents 
against Ottoman rule who had been fighting since a.d. 1821 to carve 
a Greek national state, on a post-Revolutionary Modern Western 
pattern, out of Ottoman territory in the Morea and Rumelia; and in 
this enterprise he was given the following advice by his Parisian 
mentor: 

‘It is essential that in your arduous task you should obtain the support 
of worthy collaborators, and it will be difficult for you to find them except 
among the Chiots—not that they are intellectually superior to other 

: In seeking their education in the West, Anddnios Korais and Alexander Mavro- 
gordato (see p. 171, above) had been following an unbroken Chiot tradition dating from 
the Genoese age of Chian history. At Rome a scholarship for Chiot students had been 
founded by Allatius at the College of Saint Athanasius (a Roman Catholic College for 
Greeks). Emmanuel Timoni, the Chiot discoverer of vaccination, had studied at Padua 
shortly before a.d. 1691. In A.D. 1773 the Peter Schilirzi hospital in Chios was founded 
by a Chiot who had studied medicine in Florence and who modelled his foundation in 
his native Greek island on a hospital in his Italian alma mater. The practice of going to 
Italy for their education remained common among Chiots until the catastrophe of a.d. 
1822. This was one of the reasons why the Chiots were distinguished from other Otto¬ 
man Greeks by their greater familiarity with the West (Argcnti, Chius Vincta, p. exx), 
and why in the eighteenth century Chios was the educational centre for the Greeks 
of Constantinople, Smyrna, and Egypt (Argenti, The Massacres oj Chios, p. xxiv). 

* Montpellier was the university that served the hinterland of the port of Marseilles, 
to which it stood more or less in the relation of Padua to Venice. 

J The Modem Greek language problem has been touched upon in V. vi. 68-70. 

« For Adhamindios Korais’ antecedents and career, see Thereianos, D.: AdhamOndios 
Korais (Trieste 1889-90, Austrian Lloyd Press, 3 vols.), vol. i, pp. 89-90; Finlay, op. cit, 
vol. v, pp. 285-6. 



180 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Greeks,' but because they have proved, by their achievements in adminis¬ 
tering their township under the yoke of slavery, how fit they arc to contri¬ 
bute to the common work for Hellas when they arc free. They have 
achieved concord and they possess what Aristotle calls “the eye that comes 
from experience”. They are the right people to inspire their brother 
Hellenes with their own concord and to share with them the fruits of 
their own experience.’* 

Besides the Chiots and other maritime Greeks under Ottoman and 
Venetian rule and the ra'iyeh under the protection of Western embassies 
at Constantinople, there were Greek and Vlach communities under 
Ottoman rule in Rumclia that served as carriers of the Modern Western 
culture into the main body of Orthodox Christendom by taking advan¬ 
tage of commercial opportunities opened up by Hapsburg military 
successes at the Ottoman Empire’s expense. Though the Hapsburg 
armies’ momentary incursion into Serbia in a.d. 1689 was followed by 
longer-lasting occupations of the Lower Morava Basin in a.d. 1718-39 
and in a.d. 1788-92, no Serb Orthodox Christian territory south of the 
Save and Danube was permanently incorporated into the Hapsburg 
Monarchy. At the same time, these ephemeral military and political 
actes de presence of the Hapsburg Power in Serbia, and, still more, its 
permanent establishment in the ex-Ottoman portion of Hungary, just 
across the river from Belgrade, had the economic effect of stimulating 
an overland trade between Central Europe and the Levant; and, though, 
in the nineteenth-century chapter of this story, the linking of Vienna 
and Budapest with Constantinople and Salonica was a work of Austrian 
enterprise, 1 the initiative in opening this overland trade-route up had 
been taken in the eighteenth century by Rumeliot Orthodox Christian 
subjects of the Porte who transported their merchandise on the backs of 
pack-animals. 4 

These eightecnth-ccntury Rumeliot trading ventures along the over¬ 
land route were family businesses in which die heads of a business at 
its Rumclian headquarters were in partnership with kinsmen stationed 
at Budapest, Vienna, and Leipzig as the family firm’s representatives at 
the trade’s Western terminals. This business organization based on 
kinship was a key to commercial success which was at the same time a 
potent conductor of Modern Western culture into Rumeliot Orthodox 
Christian homes. The Rumelian terminals and headquarters of the 
trade were apt to be fastnesses that were less handicapped than favoured 

1 Cyril Lotikaris, in his day, had been disgusted at the ignorance of Kor&si and 
other Chiots (Mcttctal, op. cit., p. 96).—A.J.T. 

1 Korais, A.: ’Arraumt^ia % Emtrro\uv (Athens 1839, Rallis). pp. 258-9. A much larger 
collection of Korais’ letters has been published by N. M. Dhamalds (Athens 1885-6, 
Perrhis, 3 vols.). 

3 The linking up of Constantinople with Austria-Hungary by a continuous perman¬ 
ent way was accomplished between the years A.D. 1872 and a.d. 1888. Salonica, and 
eventually Athens, were linked up with the Belgrade-Constantinople line by a branch 
which diverged from it at Nish. 

* At Shdtishta, in South-Western Macedonia, on the 5 th- 6 th September, 1921, the 
waiter of this Study met an old man who, as a boy, had accompanied his father on one 
of the last of the overland caravan-expeditions between Shitishta and Central Europe 
before the pack-animal trade was killed by the building of the Oriental Railway. From 
start to finish, this overland voyage on foot had kept the merchant-adventurers on the 
road for many months at a stretch (see II. ii. 262). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS x8x 
by their physical inaccessibility in an age when, for the subjects of a 
disintegrating Ottoman Empire, the condition sine qua non, if they were 
to have any chance of economic prosperity, was the enjoyment of some 
exceptional relief from the prevalent pressure of Ottoman misgovcrn- 
ment. x The Westernization of a Rumeliot fastness is vividly portrayed in 
an account of a visit paid on the 23rd-24th December, 1801, by a British 
traveller to the industrial village of Ambeldkia, which had struck him as 
being 

•one of the most extraordinary places in all Turkey, because, being situate 
in the most secluded spot of the whole empire, and where no one would 
look for the haunts of active industry, it carries on an extensive commerce, 
the effects of which were once severely felt by our own manufacturers in 
Britain- ... 

‘The town consists of four hundred houses, as it were hanging upon 
this side of Mount Ossa, above the Pass of Tempe : 2 it contains no Turkish 
inhabitants, and enjoys a state of freedom forcibly contrasted with the 
condition of other places in the same neighbourhood, although not 
exempted from imposts. . 

'We might almost have imagined ourselves to be in Germany. I he 
inhabitants arc many of them from that country; and they are a thriving 
healthy-looking people. They wear the eastern dress, but they have intro¬ 
duced many foreign manners and customs among those of Greece. Some 
German merchants, upon our arrival, sent to us the last Frankfort Gazettes ; 
and soon afterwards they paid us a visit. As we intended to pass the night 
here, we accompanied them to see their staple manufactory for dying 
cotton thread of a red colour, which not only supports and enriches the 
inhabitants, but has given rise to a commerce so considerable that whole 
caravans are laden with this cotton for the markets of Pest, Vienna, 
Leipsic, Dresden, etc.; and hardly a day passes without some exports 
being made, which are carried even to Hamburgh. ... ... _ 

'About this time the merchants of Ampelakia began to feel the eftect 
of the preference given to English cotton thread in the German markets; 
and it was a subject of their complaint. “They foresaw," they said, "that 
the superior skill of the English manufacturers, and their being enabled 
to undersell every other competitor upon the Continent, would ultimately 
prove the ruin of their establishment.” This, no doubt, is owing to the 
improvement adopted in Great Britain of spinning cotton thread in mills, 
by means of engines that are worked by steam, which has caused such a 
considerable reduction in its price—all the thread made at Ampelakia 
being spun by manual labour. The beautiful red tincture of the 1 urkish 
cotton will, however, long maintain its pristine celebrity. It has never 
been perfectly imitated in England. The English cotton thread is much 
finer, but it has not the tenacity of that which is manufactured in Turkey; 
neither is its colour so durable. . . 

'The whole population of Ampelakia, amounting to four thousand souls, 
including even the children, is occupied in the preparation of this single 
article of commerce; the males in dyeing the wool, and the females in 
spinning the thread. . . . Although but a village, AmpelSkia contains 

1 Sec the passage quoted from Rycaut’s book in II. ii. 265, n. 2. 

* On the 2nd September. 1021, the writer of this Study managed to catch one glimpse 
of Ambcldkia from the window of a railway caninge as he was 'nv*lluw ‘J? 1 " 
through the Vale of Tempe on a section of the line between AthensandSsIomcathit 
had been built after the annexation of Southern Macedonia to the kingdom of Greece 
as a result of the Balkan Wars of a.d. 1912-13.—A.J.T. 


IS 2 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

twenty-four fabrics for dyeing only. Two thousand five hundred bales of 
cotton (each bale weighing two hundred and fifty pounds) are annually 
dyed here, the principal produce of the manufacture bcingsent to Vienna.’ 1 


The Reception of a Modern Western Culture by the Ottoman Orthodox 
Christians and its Political Consequences 

The Modern Western influence that radiated into the main body of 
Orthodox Christendom through these overland and maritime channels 
was playing upon a society which was living at the time under a universal 
state imposed by an alien Power, and in these circumstances the course 
of the Orthodox Christian Westernizing movement, evoked by this 
radiation of the Western culture in its modern form, was different from 
that of the contemporary process in a Russian Orthodox Christendom 
that was overtaken by the impact of the Modern West in a universal state 
which had been made by, and remained in, native Russian hands. In the 
main body of Orthodox Christendom, unlike Russia, the attempt to 
adopt a Modern Western way of life was made on the educational plane 
first and on the political plane afterwards, instead of vice versa. The 
academic work of an Adhamdndios KoraTs in his sanctum at Paris, and 
of a Vuk Karadzic in his sanctum at Vienna, preceded the insurrections 
of a Qara George and a MiloS Obrenovic in the Shumadiya and a 
Petrobey in the Mani against Ottoman rule, whereas, in a Russia ruled by 
a Russian autocrat, Peter the Great was not the disciple but the fore¬ 
runner of a Westernizing school of Modern Russian men of letters. 

The measure of the extent of the seventeenth-century revolution in 
the Greek attitude towards the culture of the West is given by the 
contrast between the disdain for Latin barbarism that had been felt or 
affected by Byzantine intellectuals of the school of Photius, Psellus, and 
Anna Comnena and the cult of 'Enlightened Europe’ 2 that was practised 
and preached by Korals. 

• Clarke, E. D.: Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa, Part II, 
Section iii (London r816, Cade)] and Davies), pp. 281 and 285-8, cited in II. ii. 26, n. 4. 
Sec also Beaujour, F.: Tableau du Commerce de la Grice (Paris 1800, Renouard, 2 vols.), 
vol. i, pp. 272-5: 

'Ambilakia par son activity rcsscmble plutflt & un bourg dc Hollande qu’i un village 
de Turkie. Ce village ripand par son indust tie le mouvement ct la vie dans tout lc pays 
d’alcntour, et il donne naissance k un commerce immense qui lie l'AUcmagnc a la Grice 
par mille fils. Sa population, qui a tripli depuis quinze ans, est aujourd'hui de quatre 
mille Smes; et toutc cettc population vit dans Ics tcinturcrics, comme un essaim 
d’abeilles vit dans une ruche. On nc connait point dans cc village les vices ni les soucis 

K ’engendre l’oisiveti. Les ctrurs des Ambilakiotes sont purs et leurs visages contcns. 

servitude qui flitriti leurs pieds les campagnes qu’arrosc le Pinic n'est point montie 
sur leurs cotcaux: aucun Turk nc peut habiter ni sejourncr parmi cux, et its se gouver- 
nent comme leurs ancetres par leurs protoyeros ct par leurs propres magistrats. Deux 
fois les farouchca Muaulmans de Larisse, jaloux de Icur aisance et dc leur bonheur, ont 
tenti d'cscaladcr leurs montagnes et dc pijler leurs maisons; et deux fois ils ont iti rc- 
poussis par des mains qui ont soudain quitte la navette pour s’armer du mousouet. 

'Tous les bras, mime ceux des enfans, sont employes dans les teinturcries d'Ambi- 
lakia; et, tandis que les hommes teignent le coton, les femmes lc filent et lc priparent... 

‘II y a i Ambilakia vingt-quatre fabriques, oCi l’on teint chaque annie deux mille cinq 
cents baltea dc coton, dc cent okes la balle. Cesdeux mille cinq centsballespasscnt toutes 
en Allemagne, et sont distribuies k Pest, Vienne, Leipsik, Dresde, Anspach ct Barcuth. 
Les marchands ambilakiotes ont des comptoirs dans toutes ccs villes, ct ils y dibitent 
le coton aux manufacturicrs allemands.' 

1 ‘Enlightened Europe'— >I>ixma^*vrj Evpdarrj —is one of Korals' key phrases. See, for 
example, his use of it in a letter of the 8th November, j8«o, to the Chiot community at 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 183 

‘Europe,’ 1 wrote Korais from Paris on the 8th November, 1810, to his 
compatriots the Chiot settlers at Smyrna, ‘used to despise us as an un¬ 
educated nation, unworthy of our splendid forefathers_But now, since 

you true sons of Hellas have thought of adorning Chios with scientific 
learning, and the people of Kydhonifes [Ayvalyq] have done the same in 
their town, and the people of Constantinople have been moved to acquire 
knowledge, the Westerners have begun to take an interest in us and to 
study our movements—our enemies in order to denounce these as the 
lifeless convulsions of corpses, our friends in order to encourage them as 
the struggles against Death of a people raised from the dead . . . 

‘What we have learnt hitherto is good, and we ought to be grateful to 
those who taught it, since they taught everything they knew. But the pre¬ 
sent state of Hellas demands something better, more systematic, more 
profound, more useful; and this, without doubt, is to be found in the 
learning of Europe, which many of our intellectual heroes have acquired 
not long since [a list of names follows], and which many priests and dea¬ 
cons as well as many laymen arc seeking to acquire to-day for the profit 
and glory of Hellas by travelling in Europe.’* 

In his unwearyingly enthusiastic advocacy of education on Modern 
Western lines, Korais—more fortunate than Voulgharis in his generation 
—was preaching to the just converted ; J and, among Greek and Serb 

Smyrna (Korais, A.: ‘Andidtopa ’fmoroAius'(Athens 1839, Rallis), p. 30), and in another 
of the 17th June, 1824, addressed to the Rumcliot Greek brigand-patriot Odhyssefs 
(ibid., p. «s). In Korais’ parlance, ‘Enlightened Europe’ means the secularized society 
of the contemporary Western World. 

* It is noteworthy that Korais uses the word ‘Europe’ in the cultural sense as a 
synonym for ‘the West’, to the exclusion of the geographically European portion of the 
domain of Orthodox Christendom. 1 Apdnthisma, pp. 35 and 39. 

J Many schools and colleges were founded on Ottoman territory* by the private enter¬ 
prise of Greek Orthodox Christian ra'fyih —both individuals and communities—be¬ 
tween the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of the Christian Era and the 
Greek uprising of a.d. 1821. Schools had been founded before the close of the eighteenth 
century at Arctsi in Bithynia and at Mcaolonghi—a Rumciian Venice inhabited by 
Greek fishermen who gained their livelihood from lagoons at the mouth of the Aspro- 
pdtamo (Achelflus) which also screened them from undue interference on the part of 
their Ottoman masters (Sathas, K.: TovpKoxparovptv/ 'EXMs (Athens 1869, Koromilas), 
PP- 459 - 6 o). In the Morca, schools were founded at Vytlna and other places between 
a.d. 1800 and A.D. 182: (Khrysanthopoulos, Ph.: ‘ AirojivqiionvpaTa (Athens 1899, 
SakelUrios, 2 vol*.), vol.«, p. 5)—perhaps partly under the inspiration of the college at 
Tripolitsa, and the schools elsewhere, that had been maintained by the Venetians during 
their occupation of the More* at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
(sec p. 169, above). A fuller account of the new schools founded in the Morca from A.D. 
1781 onwards will be found in Sakellarios, op. cit., pp. 252-3. The most distinguished 
of the Moreot schools, in this scholar’s judgement, was the school at Dhimitsina (ibid., 
p. 147). The Morca, however, was not in the van of the contemporary Greek educational 
movement (ibid., pp. 146 and 2S3); and the foundation and support of the schools in 
the Morea was largely the work of Moreot business men living abroad (ibid., p. 147). 
Benefactions to Greek schools at Yinnina evoked from Korais in Pans a letter of the 
20th March, 1803, in which he congratulated the donor Kaplinis and, in doing so, urged 
him to ’set apart an annual sum ... for buying the most important new books published 
in [Western) Europe’, and to ‘leave no stone unturned to provide two teachers, one of 
French and one of Latin, or at least one teacher of Latin, which is almost as essential 
as Greek’ (Apdnthisma, p. 213). A college for the teaching of a Western curriculum was 
founded at Chios in a.d. 1809, under a headmaster who had been in France (David, op. 
cit., p. 77). The founding of a school at Smyrna by the Chiot community there, on the 
model of schools already established at Chios and Kydhoniis, was likewise the occasion 
of Korais’ letter of the 8th November, tSro, cited on p. 182, n. 2, above. At Kydhoni*s 
a college was founded in 1813 (Finlay, op. cit., vol. vi, p. 170), while at Athens in 18x2 
a ’Philomusc Society’ was organized for the purpose of financing the education of Greeks 
in the West (Finlay, op. cit., vol. vi, p. 98). On the 2:st November, 1S16, Korais wrote 
from Paris to the trustees of the Greek secondary school at Chios: ‘Set up a printing 
press. In France and Germany I know of humble villages which have been transformed 


184 encounters between contemporaries 

Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh alike, the newly acquired taste for a secular 
Modern Western culture excited an ambition to shake off an Ottoman 
yoke with a view to enjoying political freedom in accordance with some 
Modern Western ideal. In the political circumstances in which they 
found themselves, this was a formidable undertaking; for the Ottoman 
millet-system, under which they had been living since the reign of 
Sultan Mehmed II Fatih {imperabat a.d. 1451-81), was at the opposite 
pole of the institutional gamut from the constitution of a secular Modern 
Western state, either in its pre-Revolutionary pattern of Enlightened 
Monarchy or in its post-Revolutionary pattern of Parliamentary 
Democracy. 

The Ottoman Millet-System of Communal Autonomy 

Though the constitution of the Sultan’s Slave-Household was 'totali¬ 
tarian’ to the last degree, 1 the very efficiency that this total suppression 
of the individual qul's personal liberty had instilled, in the institution’s 
heyday, into a tiny Ottoman governing minority had made it possible 
for this handful of rulers to allow the great majority of their subjects to 
enjoy a far-reaching communal autonomy. While monopolizing the 
control of armed forces, police, criminal justice, and finance, the Porte 
was eager to save itself trouble by leaving other public business in the 
hands of autonomous communities whose heads were appointed by the 
P 5 dish§h and were personally responsible to him for the good behaviour 
of their flocks. 2 

This Ottoman communal autonomy had to be on a non-territorial 
basis—not so much for the sake of safeguarding the political security of 
an Ottoman Power which felt itself, in its prime, to be impregnable, as 
because, in consequence of a scries of social catastrophes, 3 the divers 
communities under Ottoman rule had come to be geographically inter¬ 
mingled with one another and at the same time economically differenti- 

into splendid cities as soon as they had received the divine gift of printing’ ( Apdnthitma , 
pp. 214-15). In a letter written on the 12th October, 1822, to the Chiots, to encourage 
them in their task of reconstruction after the catastrophe of A.D. 1822, he told them that 
‘the true ornaments of churches are ecclesiastics adorned with education and nobility 
of life ... and for such ornaments you must look, not to expensive edifices and marbles, 
golden manuals, and other works of men’s hands, in which God does not make his 
dwelling-place, but to secondary schools, libraries, printing, and all the other instru¬ 
ments of enlightenment and education’ (AptSnlhuma, p. 46). After the establishment of 
the nucleus ot an independent Greek national state, we find Korals, true to his principles, 
writing from Paris on the 5th January-, 1828, to President Capodistrias about books for 
the nation, partly the gift of the brothers Zosimrfdhes, which had been purchased in 
Western Europe and dispatched to NAvplia by Korals (Aftanthisma, pp, 265-8. See 
further pp. 269-70 for a letter of the 1st March, 1829, to the same correspondent on the 
same subject). « See the sketch of it in III. iii. 22-50. 

1 This responsibility was brought home to the millet-bishy 1 of the Millct-i-ROm by 
Sultan Murad IV when he put the Oecumenical Patriarch Cyril Loukaris to death on 
the 26th June, 1638, for having failed to prevent the Don Cossacks from seizing Azov 
(see pp. 156. above), and again by Sultan Mahmud II when he put to death the Oecumen¬ 
ical Patriarch Gregory on Easter Day the 22nd April, 1821, for having failed to prevent 
the Moreots from rebelling against the Porte. From the Ottoman constitutional stand¬ 
point the execution of Gregory was a warrantable exercise of severity, since the Moreots, 
unlike the Don Cossacks, were Ottoman subjects for whom the Oecumenical Patriarch 
was responsible politically as well as ecclesiastically. 

3 Chief among them being the disintegration of the main body of Orthodox Christen¬ 
dom and the recurrent irruptions of Eurasian Nomads into both South-Eastern Europe 
and Asia Minor. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS i8 S 
ated, till it had become hard to say whether they were nationalities, 
occupational groups, or social classes. Though the Jews and the Roman 
Catholics of the Latin Rite were perhaps the only communities of 
Ottoman subjects that were entirely divorced from the cultivation of the 
soil, the other communities likewise tended to become adepts in some 
particular profession or craft 1 —which any of their adherents might 
practise anywhere within the Ottoman frontiers—besides constituting 
one element in the local peasantry of some particular region. The Greeks, 
Vlachs, and Armenians, for example, like the Jews and the Latins, were 
ubiquitous as men of business; the Greeks were also ubiquitous as 
sailors and the Albanians as masons and latterly also as mercenary 
soldiers, while the Vlachs had a wide range as shepherds, and the 
Bulgars as military grooms and market gardeners. 2 The Ottoman system 
of communal autonomy was admirably framed to meet this ‘geosocial’ 
situation; 3 for the division of powers between the autonomous com¬ 
munities and the Imperial Government was not territorial but functional. 
On the one hand the communities did not share with the Porte any of 
the four above-mentioned prerogatives of sovereignty, even in districts 
in which their adherents happened to constitute a majority of the local 
population; on the other hand the measure of self-government delegated 
to them by the Porte was exercised by their communal authorities 
throughout the Empire—with whose dominions the domain of each 
autonomous community was thus in fact conterminous. 

This network of autonomies—all conterminous with Ottoman 
sovereignty and with one another—embraced all the Empire’s inhabi¬ 
tants; for, though the term ‘millet’ technically applied to non-Muslim 
ra'iyeh only, a similar autonomy was enjoyed by the community of free 
Muslim Ottoman subjects and also by the communities of resident aliens 
together with their Ottoman protegds. The responsible headship of an 
autonomous community was conferred—or imposed—by the Porte ex 
officio on some appropriate ecclesiastical dignitary, if such was to be 
found. The head of the free Ottoman Muslim community, for example, 
was the Shcykh-cl-Islam ('Grand Mufti’) of Constantinople; the head 
of the Ottoman Orthodox Christian community (Greek, Bulgar, Serb, 
Ruman, Albanian, Georgian, QSramanly, and Arab, without distinction) 
was the Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; the head of the 
Ottoman Gregorian (Armenian Monophysite) Christian community was 
the Gregorian Patriarch of Constantinople; and so on. These Muslim, 
Christian, and Jewish prelates (for the Jews, too, were organized in an 
ecclesiastical corporation) were compelled by the Porte to accept politi¬ 
cal responsibility for co-religionists who were Ottoman subjects, even 
when these were not members of their own ecclesiastical flock. The 
Oecumenical Patriarch, for instance, as millet-b 5 shy of the Millct-i- 

i Professional specialization is apt to be a retort to social penalization (see II. ii. 
208-12). # _ 4 .See II. ii. 223. 

> The situation was, of course, one of the familiar features of universal states, and 
the Ottoman millet-system was built on foundations that had been laid successively by 
the Achaemenian and Sasanian Empires and the Arab Caliphate in their efforts to cope 
with previous presentations of the same political problem. The wealth of the historical 
experience which the Ottoman millet-system thus incorporated was, no doubt, one of 
the secrets of its long-continuing success. 



186 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
RQm, was responsible politically to the Porte for Ottoman subjects who 
were the spiritual subjects of the Oecumenical Patriarch’s ecclesiastical 
peers the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, the Arch¬ 
bishop of Ochrida, and the President of the Autocephalous Church of 
Cyprus, as well as for Ottoman subjects who were the spiritual subjects 
of the Oecumenical Patriarchate itself; and, when the Gregorian Bishop 
of Brusa was raised to the rank of Patriarch by Sultan Mehmed II Fatih 
in a.d. 1461, he had to pay for this ecclesiastical aggrandisement by sub¬ 
mitting to be saddled with political responsibility for Christian ra'iyeh 
who were not only outside his ecclesiastical jurisdiction but were not 
even of the same communion. 1 The role played by these ecclesiastical 
millet-b 5 shys of autonomous communities of Ottoman subjects was 
played by the ambassadors of foreign Powers in the government of their 
own nationals and proteges resident in the Ottoman Empire, and by the 
Padishah himself in the government of a Slave-Household that was his 
corporate instrument for exercising his sovereign powers. 2 

It will be seen that the Ottoman Millet-i-Rum, just because its con¬ 
stitution was so well adapted to the social circumstances of the main 
body of Orthodox Christendom in the Ottoman Age, was utterly unlike 
any secular Modern Western political institution; and, as soon as the 
Westernization of the 'Osmanlis’ Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh reached 
a point at which it awakened political ambitions in their hearts, they 
were faced with the question how they were to pass from this utterly 
un-Western regime to some form of Modern Western political life. 

« See Steen de Jehay, F. van den: De la Situation Ugale des Sujets Ottomans Non- 
Mussulmans (Brussels 1906, Schepens). p. 62. In a.d. 1461 the newly created Gregorian 
Patriarch was, in fact, made millet-bash 9 of all non-Orthodox Christian ra’iyeh in the 
Ottoman Empire. Thereafter, in course of time, his political responsibility gradually 
came to be restricted to Gregorian Christian Ottoman subjects by the Porte’s progressive 
recognition de facto, though not in every case de jure, of the communal autonomy of the 

{ aconite Monophysites, the Ncstorians, the Roman Catholics of divers ritca (Latins and 
Jniate ex-Monotheletc Maronites, cx-Ncstorian Chaldeans, ex-Jacobites, and ex- 
Grcgorians), and eventually also the Protestants. The patriarchal vicars of the Latin rite, 
who administered the Latin Roman Catholic Ottoman community from a.d. 1599 on¬ 
wards (Steen de Jehay, op. cit., p. 308), were exceptional among the Ottoman millet- 
bJLshJs in being non-Ottoman subjects appointed by an ecclesiastical authority, the Pope, 
who was not an Ottoman subject either and whose sec lay outside the Ottoman Empire’s 
frontiers. The Gregorian, like the Roman Catholic, subjects of the Porte were spiritual 
subjects of an ecclesiastical authority who was not an Ottoman subject—in this case the 
Gregorian Catholicos of Echmiazin, whose see was under Safawi Shi'i Muslim sove¬ 
reignty from a.d. 150X—2 onwards (see I. i. 371) and was ceded by Persia to Russia in 
a.d. 1S28. The Catholicos, however, was impotent to give to the Gregorian Patriarch of 
Constantinople the support and protection which the Constantinopolitan Patriarchal 
Vicar of the Latin rite could be sure of receiving from the Vatican. 

1 Though the ei-devant Christians from whom the Padishah’s Slave-Household was 
recruited invariably became converts to Islam before being commissioned (see III. iii. 
37, n. 1), the act of religious conversion did not depress these individually disciplined 
and dedicated, and therefore politically all-powerful, Ottoman Muslim public slaves to 
a political parity with their politically powerless free Muslim co-religionists. The 
Padishah’s Household in its heyday was virtually an autonomous community in itself, 
and Sultan Bayczid II ( imperabat a.d. 1481-1512) gave them the privilege of being 
exempted from the jurisdiction of the shari' courts and being judged exclusively by their 
own officers (Lybyer, A. H.: The Government of the Ottoman Empire in the Time of 
Suleiman the Magnificent (Cambridge, Mass. 1913, Harvard University Press), p. 116). 
The Seyyids (i.e. recognized claimants to descent from the Prophet Muhammad) like¬ 
wise virtually constituted a separate autonomous community of their own under the 
headship of the Nakib el-Eshrif (Lybyer, op. cit., pp. 206-7; Rycaut, Sir Paul: The 
Present Stale of the Ottoman Empire (London 1668, Starkey and Brome), pp. no-u). 
See further, X. ix. 37. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 187 
The Fiasco of the Phanariots' ‘Great Idea' 

In the course of the century ending in a.d. 1821 the Phanariot Greek 
entourage of the Oecumenical Patriarchate came to transmute their old 
dream of resuscitating the East Roman ghost of the Roman Empire* 
into a new dream of solving ‘the Western Question’ on the political plane 
by converting the Ottoman Empire, as Peter the Great had converted the 
Russian Empire, into a replica of such contemporary Western multi¬ 
national ‘enlightened monarchies’ as the Danubian Hapsburg Monarchy 
and the Kingdom of Sardinia; and this ambitious Phanariot Greek 
political aspiration was fostered by an encouraging series of progressive 
political successes. 

In making the Oecumenical Patriarch ex officio millet-bashy of all the 
Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh of an expanding Ottoman Empire, Sultan 
Mchmed II Fatih and Sultan Selim I Yawuz had given this Constantino- 
politan prelate political authority over Orthodox Christian peoples that 
had never been under the rule of any Constantinopolitan emperor since 
the Arab conquest of Syria and Egypt in the seventh century of the 
Christian Era; 1 and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the 
political power of the Phanar had been farther extended by the action 
of their free Muslim fellow subjects. During the hundred years following 
the death, in a.d. 1566, of Suleyman the Magnificent the free Muslims 
had compelled the Padishah’s Slave-Household to take them into partner¬ 
ship in the government of the Ottoman Empire, and they had followed 
up this political victory over the ci-devant Christian qullar by taking the 
Greek ra'iyeh, in their turn, into partnership with themselves. 

The creation of the offices of Dragoman of the Porte and Dragoman 
of the Fleet, in order to employ Ottoman Greek ability in the Ottoman 
service for redressing an adverse balance in the struggle between the 
Ottoman Empire and the Western Powers, had been followed in the 
eighteenth century' by measures in favour of the Greeks at the expense of 
non-Greek Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh who had openly taken sides with 
the ‘Osmanlis’ Hapsburg and Russian adversaries. During the no 
years between the Ruman Prince Demetrius Cantcmir’s desertion to the 
Russian camp in a.d. 1711 and the Greek Prince Hypsilandi’s crossing 
of the Pruth in a.d. 1821, the Porte consistently appointed Phanariot 
Greek instead of Ruman princes to the thronelets of Wallachia and 
Moldavia. 3 In a.d. 1737, after the Serb Patriarch Arscnije IV had 
followed the precedent, set in a.d. 1690 by his predecessor Arscnije III, 4 
of inciting his flock to take up arms against the Porte in the Hapsburg 
cause and subsequently seeking asylum in Hapsburg territory, the Porte 
appointed a Greek to the vacant patriarchal throne of Ped; 5 and in a.d. 
1766 the Porte suppressed both the Serb Patriarchate of Ped and the 
West Bulgarian Archbishopric of Ochrida 6 and placed the non-Greek 
flocks of both these hitherto ecclesiastically autonomous Orthodox 
Christian churches under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of a Greek 

I See VI. vii. 29-31. * On this point, see IV. iv. 622. 

J See II. ii. 225, n. x. * See pp. 166-8, above. 

s See IJadrovics, L.: L’Egtise Serbe tout la Domination 7 W?w (Pans 1947, Presse 
Universitaires de France), p. 153. 1 See IV. iv. 622, n. 6. 



188 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Oecumenical Patriarch who, as millet-bashy of the Millet-i-Rum, was 
already politically responsible for them. The dependence on the 
Phanariots into which the Porte had fallen by the close of the eighteenth 
century for the conduct of ever more important diplomatic dealings with 
ever more potent Western Powers is illustrated by the fact that, when in 
a.d. 1793 the Porte established permanent diplomatic missions in Paris, 
Vienna, London, and Berlin, it could find no Muslim 'Osmanlis com¬ 
petent to serve as ambassadors, and was compelled to appoint Greek 
Christian charges d’affaires. 1 

Between a . d . 1766 and a . d . 1821 the Phanariot Greeks might have 
fancied that they had within their reach an ascendancy in the Ottoman 
Empire of the kind that the contemporary King-Emperor Joseph II had 
been working to secure for the Germans in the Danubian Hapsburg Mon¬ 
archy. By this time, however, the Phanariots’ apparently promising 
political position had actually been undermined by repercussions of 
revolutionary Western political events. In the first place, Enlightened 
Monarchy—the one Modern Western political institution to which it 
was practically possible for the Phanariots to accommodate themselves 
—had been abruptly supplanted by Nationalism as the dominant politi¬ 
cal ideal in the West itself, 2 and in the second place the non-Greek 
Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh of the Ottoman Empire foresaw no satisfac¬ 
tion for their own awakening national aspirations in the exchange of a 
Turkish Muslim for a Phanariot Greek ascendancy—as the Rumanian 
population of the Danubian Principalities showed when, after no years’ 
local experience of Phanariot Greek rule, they made a fiasco of Hypsi- 
landi’s raid by turning a deaf ear to the Greek invader’s summons to 
them to rally to him as fellow members of an Ottoman Orthodox 

* See d’Ohsson, I. M.: Tableau GtnJral de rEmpire Ottoman (Paris 1788-1824, 7 
vols.), voL vii (Didot), p. 573. 

1 The victory of the ideal of Nationalism over the ideal of Enlightened Monarchy in 
Ottoman Orthodox Christian soul* is reflected in the writings of Korais, who was as 
ardently nationalist a* he was anti-Phanariot and anti-Byzantine. 

In a letter addressed to a Greek National Delegation in London, he cite* the authority 
of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, and Bcntham, and quotes one of Franklin’s sayings 
( Apanthisma , pp. 20-25). In a letter of the 4th July, 1S23, addressed to Alexander 
Mavrogordito, on the new constitution of the infant Greek national state, he writes: 
'Persuade our countrymen to adopt the institutions of the Anglo-Americans [i.e. the 
people of the United States] (ibid., p. 255), and in the same letter he conveys his hostility 
to the Phanariots, though this without discourtesy to his correspondent, through a 
topical application of the text 'Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?' (ibid., p. 
*S4>- 

Korais' political convictions worked together with his linguistic and literary ideal* to 
make him execrate the East Roman Empire. 

'The yoke of the Romans, the Graeco-Roman Emperors and the Turks weighed each 
more heavily than the last upon the Hellenes', he wrote in a letter of the 10th January, 
1822, addressed to the leaders of the Greek national uprising ( Apdnlhisma , p. 4), and in 
his letter of the 12th October, 1822, to the Chiots he declared that, 'if the Graeco-Roman 
Emperors had given to the education of the race a small part of the attention that they 
gave to multiplying churches and monasteries, they would not have betrayed the race to 
other rulers far worse deluded than they were. For all the evils that we have suffered 
from the maniac Muslims we are indebted to those material-minded and fleshly Christ¬ 
ian Emperors. Now that our turn has come, let us show ourselves wiser and truer 
Christians than they did, and leam by the misfortunes which they suffered in their 
generation and bequeathed to us.' ( Apanthisma , pp. 46-47)- 

‘That macarone Phrantzfs! Reading three or four pages of him was enough to make 
my gout worse! C'est une honour! And then we arc surprised that the Graeco-Roman 
Empire fell!' ( Apdnthisma , p. 133). 




THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 189 

Christian community that was to liberate itself from the Ottoman yoke 
by taking up arms under Phanariot Greek leadership. 1 

The Disruption of an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom by a Modern 
Western Nationalism 

This frustration of the Phanariots’ 'Great Idea’ was an intimation 
that a multi-national Orthodox Christian Millet-i-Rum which had set 
its heart on adopting a Modern Western way of life on the political as 
well as on the educational plane would now have to sort itself out into 
a patchwork of parochial Greek, Ruman, Serb, Bulgar, Albanian, and 
Georgian national states—on the pattern of France, Spain, Portugal, 
Holland, and Great Britain—in each of which a particular language, 
instead of a particular religion, would be the shibboleth uniting 'fellow 
countrymen’ and distinguishing them from ‘foreigners’, even though 
these ‘foreigners’ might be Christians of the same Orthodox Faith who, 
under the Ottoman dispensation, had been fellow members, ex officio 
religionis, of the same empire-wide Millet-i-Rum. 

At the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the makings of 
this exotic Modern Western pattern in the linguistic and political map 
of the Ottoman Empire were exiguous. Within the Ottoman frontiers at 
that date there were few districts whose population was even approxi¬ 
mately homogeneous in linguistic nationality, and few which possessed 
even the rudiments of local statehood. Ottoman Orthodox Christian 
autonomous territories could almost be counted on the fingers of one 
hand: the tw r o Rumanian principalities Wallachia and Moldavia 1 and 
the four Georgian principalities Guriel, Mingrelia, Imeretia, and 
Abklmia would exhaust the list. The only other materials for building 
Orthodox Christian national states out of the ruins of a disintegrating 
Ottoman Empire were single communities—like the Greek and Moreot 
Albanian islands and portlets noticed above 3 —which enjoyed some 
measure of autonomy by charter, custom, or inadvertence, and barbarian 
fastnesses—like the Mani, the Agrapha, 4 the Shumadiya, and Montene¬ 
gro—which had either never effectively been brought under Ottoman 
rule or had effectively succeeded in casting it off. 5 The enduring political 
effects of ephemeral eighteenth-century occupations of the Lower 
Morava Basin by the Hapsburgs and of the Morea by the Venetians 
declared themselves in the nineteenth century when these areas became 
the nuclei of a Serb and a Greek national state. 6 

Bulgarian and Albanian national states 7 were slower in making their 

* This Rumanian reaction to Hypsilandi’s adventure, and it* decisive effect on the 
Greek adventurer’s fortunes, have been noticed in II. ii. 227._ 

1 The adjoining principality of Transylvania had likewise been under Ottoman 
suzerainty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the Ottoman Power had 
been at its apogee; but the Rumanian Orthodox Christian and Uniate element in the 
population of Transylvania was not one of the politically enfranchised Transylvanian 
‘nations’, though in numbers it may already have been equal to the Magyars, Szekels, 
and Saxons put together. 

3 On pp. t 7 . 4 - 5 . 4 Sce P- * 75 > n. 3, above. 

s The nuclei of the Greek successor-state of the Ottoman Empire have been enumer¬ 
ated, by anticipation, in II. ii. 261-2. 8 Sec V. v. 637-8. 

’ In Albania, by the time when she recovered her independence, the Orthodox 
Christian element in the population had dwindled to a minority confined to the South. 



190 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
appearance, and, when they did appear, they owed their foundation 
to the action of foreign Powers. The Bulgarian successor-state of the 
Ottoman Empire was brought to birth in a.d. 1877 by Russia and the 
Albanian in a.d. 1913 by the Hapsburg Monarchy and Italy. Moreover, 
all these ex-Ottoman Orthodox Christian national states came into 
existence piecemeal, and the labour of winning a fragmentary autonomy 
or independence had to be followed up by the further labour of bringing 
the fragments together. 1 Moldavia had to be united with Wallachia, 
Montenegro with Serbia, Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria, an autonomous 
Samos and an autonomous Crete with a nuclear Kingdom of Greece; 
and the process of redistributing Ottoman territory into national 
domains had to be completed by a dismemberment of Macedonia—the 
most recalcitrant of all Ottoman territories to this painfully protracted 
process of partition, just because Macedonia had been the quintessence 
of the Ottoman Empire on the Rumelian side of the Straits. 

This radical reconstruction of the political map of Ottoman Orthodox 
Christendom, in order to make it conform to a revolutionary Modem 
Western pattern, spelled misery for millions of human beings over a 
period of four or five generations beginning at the outbreak of the Great 
Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1768-74 and ending only in the breathing- 
space between the First and the Second World War; and the suffering 
inflicted became more widespread and concurrently more intense as the 
Procrustean operation was successively performed upon territories and 
populations that were less and less amenable to being reorganized politically 
on a basis of nationality in the Modern Western understanding of the 
idea. 1 Even the Morea, as it was in a . d . 1821 , could not be made as 
Greek as a contemporary France was French without exterminating a 
previously dominant Ottoman Muslim minority, amounting to about 
10 per cent, of the total population of the eyalet, 3 by a barbarous com¬ 
bination of eviction and massacre. 

nXalvt fiavovXats yia iraiSid, yvvaixcs yid rods avrpfs, 
xXaUi xai fua xavov/ucaa yid to fiovayoyid njs.* 

This exultantly savage Orthodox Christian Greek Moreot paean on ; 

the destruction of the tyrannical Muslim Albanian Moreot township of 
Ldla in June 1821 s is characteristic of the inhuman spirit that inspired the 
partition of the Ottoman Empire during the next hundred years. In a 
world in which the existing communities were geographically inter¬ 
mingled and economically interdependent, an indigenous millet system 
of communal organization, which had faithfully reflected this Ottoman 

The Centre had become predominantly Muslim (see pp. 164-5, above), while the North 
had remained predominantly Roman Catholic. 

1 The apprenticeship which many of these fragments had to serve under Ottoman 
suzerainty, as the price of being stamped with the seal of legitimacy by the Porte, has 
been noticed in VI. vii. 16-17. 

J SseH'H- 227 - 8 - . . . s See pp. 681-3, below. 1 

* 0 1 AaAuunoots, in Polltis, N. G.: ExXcryal djro ra Tpayov&ia row 'EXAtjviKoG AaoD 
(Athens 1914, Estia), p. 18: ‘Mothers weep for children, wives for their husbands, and 
n lady [khanum] weeps for her only son.’ 

* On the 3 tst May, 1912, the ruins of Ldla were still lying desolate when the writer 
of this Study walked past them that morning cn route from Olympia to Dhivri. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 191 
society’s structure, could not be rejected in favour of an exotic ideology 
of Nationalism, which reflected the quite alien structure of a Late 
Modem Western Society, without precipitating an Ishmaelitish struggle 
for existence. 1 In preaching to the hitherto widely dispersed speakers of 
each of the interwoven languages of the Ottoman Empire that they had 
a hitherto unheard-of sacred right to possess a sovereign independent 
linguistically homogeneous national state of their own on the pattern of a 
France or a Spain, the Ottoman Orthodox Christian apostles of a novel 
Western political creed were, in effect, inciting their brethren to make a 
virtue of evicting or massacring their neighbours for the crime of having 
inherited a different mother tongue; and, in the name of an alien ideal 
which had thus been imported in an evil hour, the shot-silk fabric of a 
seamless Ottoman robe was remorselessly plucked to pieces by cruel 
hands, and the broken threads of each diverse national hue were then 
roughly rewoven into so many separate rags to make a patchwork coat 
of many colours in which the only note of uniformity was a monoton¬ 
ously pervasive stain of blood. 2 A crescendo of atrocities and tragedies 
came to its climax in the wholesale deportation of an Armenian minority 
in the eastern vilayets in a.d. 1915 by order of a ‘New ‘Osmanli 1 govern¬ 
ment of the day, and the wholesale flight of a Greek Orthodox Christian 

1 Gen. xvi. 12. 

a Thi* morally devastating effect of the impact of a Modem Western Nationalism 
upon an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom during this dark century of cx-Ottomon 
Orthodox Christian history was aggravated by the vein of Archaism with which the 
intrusive Western ideology had been charged, before export, by a Western Romantic 
Movement. A partition of Macedonia between Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek, Albanian, 
and Serbian national successor-states of the Ottoman Empire would have been difficult 
enough to achieve without fearful injustices and atrocities, even if each of the interested 
nationalities had scrupulously limited its claims to territories in which a majority of the 
living generation of the inhabitants genuinely wished to be included in the claimant 
nationality’s inchoate national state. The conflict between rival national claims, and the 
malice, hatred, and all uncharitableness envenoming the feelings of the cx-Ottoman 
Orthodox Christian peoples towards one another, were, however, further accentuated 
by an Archaism which, instead of being content to take the living msp as the basis for 
its territorial claims, insisted upon basing these on some perhaps quite ephemeral past 
state of the map in which the political domination, as distinct from the national domain, 
of this or that people had been at its maximum extent. The Serbs, for example, would 
claim the frontiers of the fourteenth-century empire of Stephen Dushan; the Bulgars 
would claim the frontiers of the tenth-century empires of Samuel and Symeon; the 
Greeks would claim the frontiers of the eleventh-century empire of Basil the Bulgar- 
slayer (BovAyapoterovos)—and this not as a multi-national empire in which the Greeks 
were merely to exercise an ascendancy, but as a Greek national state that was to be ns 
Greek as France was French. 

The Ottoman Turks themselves, when the Turkish diaspora in Macedonia caught the 
infection of an archaistic Western Nationalism from their insurgent Orthodox Christian 
ra'iyeh, toyed with the conceit of seeking an ultra-archaistic compensation for n Rumili 
which could never be saved for a Turkish national state, though it had been the heart 
of an Ottoman Empire. Academic-minded Turkish archaist-nationalists cast back to a 
pre-Islamic and pre-sedentary chapter in the history of a Eurasian Nomad minority 
of their forebears (sec p. 262, n. 1, below). They consoled themselves for the loss of 
Rumili by conjuring up the vision of Qyzyl Elma: a legendary Garden of Eden, in which 
a primaeval Turkish people had eaten of the magic fruit of the Red Apple tree long 
before Ertoghrul’s fugitive war-hand had been blown out of the Steppe by a Mongol 
explosion. Were not at least two-thirds of the Turkish-speaking portion of Mankind still 
to be found in Eurasia outside an Ottoman Turkey's frontiers? One of the most signal 
evidences of Ghazi MustafS Kemil AtatQrk’s political genius was his clear recognition 
that a visionary pursuit of this mirage of a Ycni TdrSn beyond the eastern limits of an 
Ottoman Turkish national home in Anatolia w’as bound to bring Turkey into a disastrous 
headlong collision with a Russia who had not indicated any relaxation of her hold upon 
the Crimea, the Volga Basin, the Caucasus, and Central Asia in styling herself ’the Union 
of Soviet Socialist Republics’ instead of 'the Russian Empire’. 


192 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
minority from Western Anatolia in a.d. 1922 after the debacle of in¬ 
vading Greek armies that had avenged Mehmed Fatih’s conquest of 
Constantinople by overrunning the cradle of the Ottoman Power. It 
was only after these supreme catastrophes that the sufferings of ‘dis¬ 
placed persons’ were mitigated by the beneficent intervention of the 
League of Nations, and the national feud between Greeks and Turks was 
brought to an end by the statesmanship of Elcftherios Veniz&os and 
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. 1 

Orthodox Christian national states that had come into existence in 
these untoward circumstances and on this petty scale could not, of 
course, indulge, like a Westernizing Russian Empire, in the ambition of 
playing, vis-b-vis the Modern West, the role of the East Roman Empire 
vis-b-vis a Medieval Western Christendom. Their feeble energies were 
absorbed in local disputes over small parcels of territory, and, though 
the territorial aspirations of the Serb and Rumanian national successor- 
states of the Ottoman Empire were partly responsible for the break-up 
of one great Modem Western state, the Danubian Hapsburg Mon¬ 
archy, 1 the bitterest animosities of these politically reanimated Orthodox 
Christian peoples were those which they harboured against one another. 
Even if the emergence of this cluster of Orthodox Christian national 
states in South-Eastern Europe had been forestalled by a successful 
realization of the Phanariots’ 'Great Idea’, a reconstituted East Roman 
Empire could never have challenged the West on its own account, sup¬ 
posing that its makers had conceived the ambition; for it could never 
even have come into existence, or kept itself in existence after being set 
up, unless it had been established by Russian force of arms and been 
maintained as Russia’s satellite. This did not come to pass, though the 
Empress Catherine II of Russia played with the idea 3 after her great 
victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 
1768-74. In the event the petty national states into which the Ottoman 
Millet-i-Rum eventually sorted itself out in the course of the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries found themselves in an international situation 
not unlike that of their predecessors during the centuries immediately 
preceding the establishment of a Pax Ottomanica in the main body of 
Orthodox Christendom. In that age the Greeks, Serbs, Bulgars, and 
Rumans had been confronted with a choice between domination by their 
Medieval Western fellow Christians and domination by the ‘Osmanlis. 
In a post-Ottoman Age the alternatives that confronted them were 
incorporation into a secular Modern Western body social and subjection, 
first to a Petrine, and thereafter to a Communist, Russia. 

Russia's Competition with the West for the Ex-Ottoman Orthodox 
Christians' Allegiance 

In a.d. 1952 a majority of these non-Russian Orthodox Christian 
peoples were actually under Russia's military and political control. 
Georgia was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union; 
Rumania, Bulgaria, and Albania were satellites of the Soviet Union. The 


1 See VI. vii 30-31. 


1 See II. ii. 177-88. 


J See II. ii. 225, n 2. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 193 
only two non-Russian Orthodox Christian countries which at this date 
were not in Russia’s clutches were Greece—where the Russians had 
eventually been worsted in an undeclared war-after-thc-war between 
the Soviet Union and the United States in which the combatants on the 
two sides had been Greek proxies of the foreign belligerents—and 
Jugoslavia, which had thrown off a post-war Russian hegemony without 
having been overtly molested up to date; and even Jugoslavia, whose 
rulers had not repudiated Communism in repudiating their allegiance to 
Moscow, had found herself, like Greece, unable to keep Russia at bay 
out of her own resources, without drawing upon American aid. At the 
same time it was significant that, save for the single case of Georgia, 1 
this Russian domination over non-Russian Orthodox Christian countries 
had been established only since the end of the General War of a.d. 
I 939 — 451 ! ^ at even an indirect exercise of Russian power was every¬ 
where odious to all but a small minority of Communists who were 
governing these countries with Russian backing as the Soviet Govern¬ 
ment’s agents; that the Jugoslav Communists had already rebelled 
against the hegemony of their Russian comrades; and that this recalci¬ 
trance against a Russian ascendancy was an old story which could be 
illustrated from the history of Russia’s relations with Rumania, Bulgaria, 
and Serbia in the nineteenth century, at dates long previous to the 
metamorphosis of the Russian Empire into the Soviet Union. 

On the morrow of the Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1877-8, for example, 
Russia had looked forward, with a not unreasonable confidence, to 
exercising a paramount political influence over a Serbia whom she had 
just rescued from a single-handed struggle with Turkey, over a Rumania 
to whom she had just presented the Dobruja, and, above all, over a 
Bulgaria whom she had just brought into existence ex nihilo through 
the sheer force of Russian arms. Yet, in the sequel, Bulgaria shook off 
Russia’s tutelage at the first opportunity, Serbia veered back for a genera¬ 
tion (a.d. 1881-1903) into the political orbit of the Hapsburg Monarchy, 
and Rumania—forgetting the acquisition of the Dobruja and only re¬ 
membering that, in exchange for this piece of Ottoman territory, Russia 
had forced her to retrocede the fraction of Bessarabia that had been 

1 The United Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, which was the largest and most important 
of the Georgian states, placed itself under Russian suzerainty in a.d. 1783; was annexed 
by Russia at the turn of the years a.d. 1800 and A.D. 1801 (the exact date is variously 
given as cither the 18th December, 1800, or the 18th January, 1801); and was finally 
subdued, after a last rebellion, in a.d. 1812. The Principality of Mingrelia was annexed 
by Russia in A.D. 1803 and the Principality of Imerctia in A.D. >804-10. Persia renounced 
in Russia’s favour all claims over Kartli-Kakheti, Mingrelia, Imerctia, and Abkhazia in 
the Russo-Persian peace treaty concluded at Gulistan in a.d. 1813. Turkey recognized 
Russian sovereignty over Kartli-Kakheti, Mingrelia, and Imerctia, and also over Guriel, 
in the Russo-Turkish peace treaty concluded at Adrianople on the 14th September, 
1829, Art. 4. In the same article Turkey ceded to Russia the town of Akhaltzik and the 
fort of Akhalkalak. Details will be found in W. E. D. Allen: 'The Caucasus’, in The 
Bailie and Caucasian Stales (London 1923, Hoddcr and Stoughton), pp. 195-9, and in 
the same author’s A History of the Georgian People (London 1932, Kegan Paul), pp. 
210-18. 

The Russian annexation of Georgia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, like 
the French conquest of Corsica in a.d. 1768, had the unforeseen effect of providing a 
political genius born in the annexed territory with a field for his abilities and ambitions 
which would have been closed to him if his obscure and secluded homeland had not 
been swallowed up by an acquisitwe Great Power. No more would have been heard of 
Stalin as a Georgian priest than of Napoleon as a Corsican patriot. 

B 28 M.vm H 



194 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
presented to Rumania by the victors in the Crimean war*—came to look 
upon Russia, instead of Turkey, as her national bugbear. 2 

This anti-Russian feeling in non-Russian Orthodox Christian 
countries might seem at first sight surprising at a time when Orthodox 
Christianity was still the established religion of a Russian state that 
claimed to be the heir of the East Roman Empire. In the ninth-century 
Macedonian Slav dialect known as ‘Old Slavonic’ the Russian, Ruman¬ 
ian, 3 Bulgarian, and Serbian Orthodox churches had a common liturgi¬ 
cal language, while the Russian, Bulgar, and Serb peoples were also 
more intimately linked by the kinship between their living Slav vernacu¬ 
lars. Why did ‘Pan-Slavism’ and 'Pan-Orthodoxy' prove of so little 
avail to Russia in her dealings with the Slavonic-speaking and other 

1 Bessarabia—the slice of territory between the Rivers Dniestr and Pruth—had been 
divided under the Ottoman regime into two parts: the Rujiq, on the Black Sea Coast, 
which was under Nomad occupation and Ottoman administration, and an inland part 
which was cultivated by a Rumanian and Ukrainian peasantry and was an integral por¬ 
tion of the autonomous principality of Moldavia. In a.d. 1812, Russia had compelled 
the Porte to cede both parts of Bessarabia to her as the price of peace at the end of the 
Russo-Turkish War of 1807-12 (Russo-Turkish peace treaty concluded at Bucarest on 
the 28th May, :81a, Art. A 

1 This substitution of Russia for Turkey as the principal foreign object of the 
Rumanian people’s dislike and apprehension was a natural consequence of this particular 
Orthodox Christian nation’s situation and history. Situated, as they were, in the fairway 
of Russia’s overland avenue for the invasion of Rumelia, the Rumans had been the first 
Ottoman Orthodox Christian people to have a first-hand experience of a Russian 
‘liberating’ army; and they had also been the only Ottoman Orthodox Christian people 
that had escaped the experience of bcinp subject to a local Muslim ‘ascendancy’. The 
treaties under which the two Ruman principalities Wallachia and Moldavia had origi¬ 
nally submitted to Ottoman suzerainty had provided that they should be exempt from 
colonization by Muslims and should continue to be governed by Christian princes; and 
consequently the misgovemment and oppression from which they had suffered under an 
Ottoman dispensation had been inflicted on them first by Ruman Orthodox Christian 
and later by Greek Orthodox Christian, but never directly by Turkish Muslim, hands. 
In these circumstances it is not surprising that in A.D. 1711, when a Russian army made 
its appearance in the Lower Danube Basin for the first time since Svyatoslav’s retreat 
in a . d . 971 or 972 (see p. 127, n. 2, above), the Rumans should have shown reserve, 
whereas the Montenegrins and Herzegovinians rose in arms at the arrival, not of a Rus¬ 
sian army, but of a mere inflammatory scrap of Russian paper in the shape of a pro¬ 
clamation. It is true that in a.d. 1711 the Hospodar of Moldavia, Demetrius Cantemir, 
did throw in his lot with the Russians (see p. 162, above), and that there was a party in 
favour of the same policy in the more distant, as well as more important, principality 
of Wallachia; but the Hospodar of Wallachia, Constantine Brflncovcanu, refused to 
commit himself and eventually came down on the side of his Ottoman suzerain, and in 
this policy he seems to have had behind him a majority of the Wallachian boyars. 'As one 
of them said: “It is dangerous to declare for Russia until the Tsar’s army crosses the 
Danube. Who knows, moreover, whether Wallachia in the power of the Russians will 
be happier than under the dominion of the Turks ?” After the battle on the Pruth, one 
of Brancovan’s (BrSncovcanu’s) close adherents wrote in praise of his wisdom in "await¬ 
ing the decision of a battle in which it has finally been seen that, beneath German clothes, 
the Muscovites arc still Muscovites’’. Here in two nutshells is summed up the reason for 
Peter’s failure to win Wallachia’ (Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Ottoman Empire 
(Oxford 1949. Blackwell), p. 44, where the reader will find the references to the sources 
of the two dicta quoted above). 

1 In the Rumanian principalities, ‘Old Slavonic’ continued to be the sole current 
liturgical language of the Orthodox Christian Church down to A.D. 1679, when the Metro¬ 
politan of Moldavia, Dosithcos, published at Jassy a translation of the Liturgy into 
Rumanian. The Bible likewise was translated into Rumanian in A.D. :688. The intro¬ 
duction of the Rumanian version of the Liturgy encountered opposition, and in the 
reign of Prince Constantine Brlncoveanu of Wallachia (funeebatur a.d. 1688-1714) there 
w-as a reaction in favour of the 'Old Slavonic’ classical language. Thereafter, Greek 
ousted 'Old Slavonic’ as the language of higher secular education in the principalities, 
while 'Rumanian remnined the language of the Liturgy’ Uorga, N.: Geschichte der 
Rumanen und Hirer Kultur (Hermannstadt [Sibiul 1929, Krafft and Drotleff). pp. 233-4 
and 239-40). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 195 
Orthodox Christian peoples to whom she repeatedly gave such effective 
help in their struggles to extricate themselves from Ottoman toils ? 

The answer appears to be that the Ottoman Orthodox Christians had 
already fallen under the spell of the Modern Western Civilization before 
Russia had offered herself to be their champion and redeemer, and that 
Russia was attractive to them—in so far as she did attract them at all— 
neither because she was Slav nor because she was Orthodox but because 
she was a pioneer in a cultural enterprise of ‘winning the West’ which 
was the goal of their own ambitions. The closer their acquaintance with 
Russia, the more alive the non-Russian Orthodox Christian peoples 
became to the superficiality of a Petrine Russia’s Western veneer. 
'Scratch a Russian and you will find a Tatar!’ 1 However much these 
former ra'iyeh might be indebted to Russia for their liberation from an 
Ottoman yoke, it was natural that they should take advantage of their 
newly gained liberty by going straight to the Western fountain-head 
instead of being content to receive the living waters of the West through 
a mud-choked Russian channel. This is perhaps the explanation of the 
apparent paradox that the prestige of Russia in Greek, Ruman, Serb, 
and Bulgar eyes diminished in proportion as Russia became a more 
familiar figure and a more potent presence in these South-East European 
Orthodox Christian peoples’ lives. 

Russian influence over them was, in fact, at its apogee in the genera¬ 
tion immediately following the Great Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1768- 
74. The decisive victory' over a once irresistible Ottoman Power that had 
been won in this war by Russia thanks to her adoption of a Modern 
Western military technique was as thrilling for the ‘Osmanlis’ ra'iyeh 
as it was disconcerting to the ‘Osmanlis themselves; and, though the 
Russian naval expeditionary force in the Mediterranean had done the 
Morcot Greeks a poor service by irresponsibly inciting them to revolt 
without being able to give them effective aid against the avalanche of 
Albanian Muslim barbarians whom the ‘Osmanlis let loose upon them 
in retaliation, 2 the moral effect of this unfortunate Greek experience of 
Russian intervention was more than offset by the Russians’ naval and 
military successes in the war and by the vigour of their political exploita¬ 
tion of the terms of peace. 

The peace treaty concluded at Kuchuk Qaynarja on the 21st July, 
1774, stipulated (Art. 11) that Russia was to have the same treatment, 
rights, and status in the Ottoman dominions as were enjoyed at the time 
by France and Great Britain, just as if the terms of the French and 
British capitulations then in force had been incorporated in the treaty 
verbatim, and it was provided in the same article that Russian consulates, 
on the same footing as the French and British consulates, might be 
established at any place in Ottoman territory. In the subsequent Russo- 
Turkish commercial treaty of the 21st June, 1783, it was expressly agreed 1 

1 *It will take the Russians a long time to shake off from themselves the habits and 
way of thought inherited from a barbarous ancestry. Gratia It Ruue et vout trouvertz It 
Tar tare, (a c'etl une intulte aux Tartares. This is a hackneyed expression; however, it is 
a true one’ (Burnaby, F.: A Ride to Khiva (in a.d. 1875] (London 1877, Cassell), p. 82). 

J Sec V. v. 294. Details will be found in Sakcllarios, op. cit. pp. 162-204. 


196 encounters between contemporaries 

that Russian consuls should have the right, already enjoyed by the 
representatives of other capitulatory Powers, 1 of maintaining tax-free 
and otherwise privileged Ottoman servants. Russia made it her policy 
to exploit these treaty rights by using Greek Ottoman subjects as her 
instruments. Ottoman Greeks, selected by Russian consuls in the 
Ottoman Empire, were sent to Russia to be educated at the Russian 
Government’s expense, 2 and from a.d. 1818 onwards Greeks were 
appointed to Russian consulships. 3 Ships belonging to Orthodox 
Christian Ottoman subjects were licensed by the Russian authorities to 
trade under the Russian flag*—a favour which gave the first impetus 
to the boom in Greek shipping that reached its peak during the Revolu¬ 
tionary and Napoleonic Wars.* .... 

In the generation immediately preceding the Greek national uprising 
of a.d. 1821 the new maritime cities founded by the Russian Govern¬ 
ment on the north coast of the Black Sea, 6 after the acquisition of this 
seaboard by Russia in the Russo-Turkish wars of a.d. 1768-74 and a.d. 
1787-92, played an important role in the emancipation of the Greeks as 
clinics in which Greek ra'iyeh were inoculated with a revolutionary 
Western political ferment. The trade through these newly founded ports 
which sprang up between their Russian continental hinterland and the 
Ottoman shores of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean not only brought 
Ottoman Greek shipping into their harbours but attracted permanent 
Greek residents; and the Greek commercial colony at Odessa gave birth 
in a.d. 1814 to ‘the Society of Friends’ (•PiXucri 'Eraiptla), a Greek 
nationalist secret society which set itself to conduct an underground 
propaganda in Greek-inhabited Ottoman territories. The Greeks serving 
as Russian consuls in the Ottoman Empire 

‘were all initiated into the Etaireia ton Philikbn and acted as mission¬ 
aries themselves, and their propaganda found acceptance among the rest 
of the Greeks and won their confidence, because everybody believed that 
Russia was inextricably involved in these activities and that she would take 
part in the Greek conflict.’ 7 

These words were written in retrospect by Photdkos Khrysanth6pouIos, 
who played his part in the subsequent Greek War of Independence as 
aide-de-camp to Kolokotronis; and the story of Photikos’s early life is a 
personal illustration of the stimulus imparted to Ottoman Greeks by 
contact with Russia in this generation. 

Photdkos, as he records in his memoirs, 8 was the son, born in a.d. 
1798, of a Moreot Greek Orthodox Christian priest. His native village 
was Maghouliana in the interior of the peninsula, and he received a 
Greek primary education there before going on to the recently founded 
Greek higher school at Vytlna. By this date the Moreot Greeks were 
becoming political-minded. 


« See pp. 172-3. above. 1 Sec Finlay, op. cit., vol. y, p. 267. 

1 See Khrysanthdpoulos, Ph.: Vtwo/ivjjMOKv/xara (Athens 1899, Sakellarios, 2 vole.), 
vol. i, p. 16. 

* See Finlay, op. cit., vol. v, pp. 280-1. * Sec pp. 175-7. above. 

6 Kherson was founded in A.D. 1778, Nikolayev in A.D. 1789, Odessa in A.D. 1792. 
» Khrysanthdpoulos, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 16. 

* Khrysanthdpoulo*. op. cit., Introduction, vol. i, pp. ix-xiii. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE GREEKS 197 

‘It was customary for all the inhabitants of a village or a small country- 
town to meet after the end of divine service. They came out of church, 
stopped in the churchyard, and talked together there; and, if the more 
intelligent among them happened to have heard any foreign news—per¬ 
haps about a war between the Westerners (QpayKOi) and the Turks—they 
used to tell it, and everybody was pleased, above all when it was Russia 
that had won a battle. When that happened, they used to join with the 
priest in a prayer to God to give our co-religionists strength to overthrow 
our enemies the Turks.’ 1 

At Vytfna in this atmosphere the young Photdkos imbibed political 
ideas which made his father anxious to get the boy out of the country 
for fear that he might fall foul of the Turks; and so, in a.d. 1813, 
Photikos was taken, with other young Moreot Greeks, to Russia by a 
Moreot business man, established there, who had been back in the 
Morea on a visit. In Russia Photakos went into business in the inland 
Bessarabian town of Kishinydv, but, hearing of the existence of the 
Philikl Etaircfa, he migrated to Odessa and was initiated. In a.d. 1820 he 
was sent by the society as their emissary to the Morea to pass the word 
that the 25th March, 1821, was to be ‘the day’. His expenses were paid 
by a rich Odcssan Greek business man, and he sailed from Odessa to 
Hydhra on board an Hydhriot ship. 

Photikos’ account of the effect of life in Russia on himself and his 
compatriots is as convincing as it is vivid: 

'The Greeks . . . always longed to go to Russia. There we could work 
and earn our bread and after a time forget our fear and cease to be ra'iyeh 
of the Turks. We could cleanse ourselves inside and outside, realise that 
we were human beings, walk with a confident step, and catch the new 
atmosphere from one another. We could hear the bells of the churches 
ringing freely; we could go to their churches and give thanks in the liturgy 
of our religion with a devotion that came from the heart. And, when we 
had taken our fill of all these blessings, we could begin to consider how to 
liberate our parents, brothers, and relatives and our beloved country, so 
that she too might recover her splendour, like Russia. 

'This terrible mental cancer prayed upon our lives, and we could never 
conclude our reflections without our eyes being clouded with tears. Why 
should we be slaves of the Turks, the most barbarous nation in the World ? 
This weeping and lamentation of ours, and all our other miseries, filled 
every place where Greeks were gathered together. Equality, fraternity, 
loyalty, and mutual affection were general among us, and after the day’s 
work we were continually meeting in our leisure hours and discussing 
the liberation of our country. Everyone sent his savings to his birthplace, 
to his parents and other relatives; and he sent his native commune and 
the village church a few books, a little lamp, or a little bell. And so we 
continued for the present. There in Russia our national consciousness 
grew, and our hearts burnt unqucndhably within us. Had Russia not been 
there, or had she been another nation with another religion, it is question¬ 
able whether we should have secured our liberation or preserved our 
nationality. Where else, indeed, should we have brought our embryonic 
liberty to birth ?’* 

* Khrys*»nth6poulos, op. cit., vol. i, p. 35 ! C P- P- * 5 - 

* Khry*anth< 5 pou!o», op. cit., vol. i, pp. 16-18. 



198 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

In Russia, on this new ground so lately won from Nomadism for the 
agriculture, commerce, and industry of a sedentary civilization, Otto¬ 
man Greek immigrants at the opening of the nineteenth century ex¬ 
perienced the exhilaration of breathing fresh air; but, if Phdtakos is a 
faithful interpreter of their state of mind, they were still unaware of the 
source of the life-giving breeze. Though they were inhaling it within the 
expanding borders of a Russian Orthodox Christendom, its provenance 
was not Russia and its ozone was not Orthodoxy. The mighty rushing 
wind that was sweeping out of the Russian forests across the Ukrainian 
steppes and over the sea to Greece had not been raised by any local 
atmospheric conditions; it had come from afar, and a scientific inquirer 
bent on tracing it back to its origin would have had to make a pilgrimage 
from Odessa northwards overland to Riga, and from Riga westwards 
overseas, to find the distant source of this spiritual elixir in Holland and 
Britain and America. The atmosphere in early nineteenth-century 
Russia that inspired the Ottoman Greeks was a Western atmosphere to 
which Russia was merely giving passage; and in succumbing to this 
atmosphere they were opting, even if unconsciously, not for Russia, but 
for the West. 


3. The Modern West and the Hindu World 1 

Likenesses and Differences in the Situations of a Hindu Society under 
British Rule and an Ottoman Orthodox Christendom 

The circumstances in which the Hindu World encountered the 
Modern West were in some points remarkably similar to those in which 
the main body of Orthodox Christendom underwent the same experience. 
The Hindu World, too, had entered into its universal state by the time 
when the impact of the Modern Western Civilization upon it began to 
make itself felt there; 2 in India, as in the non-Russian part of Orthodox 
Christendom, this universal state had been imposed by alien empire- 
builders who were children of the Iranic Muslim Civilization; and in 

« Sec xi, maps 52A and S3. 

* If we arc right in our view that a universal state was imposed on the Hindu World 
by alien hands in the form of the Timurid Mughal Empire, and also right in equating 
the effective establishment of the Mughal Rij with Akbar’s conoucst of Gujerat in 
a.d. 1572. this event in Hindu history did not occur till seventy-four years after the 
first landfall of Western ocean-faring mariners on the west coast of the sub-continent; 
but da Gama’s arrival at Calicut in A.D. 1498 did not produce the sensation in India that 
it produced in Venice and in Egypt, where it was immediately realized that the rounding 
of the Cape of Good Hope by Portuguese ships was a threat to all parties commercially 
interested in the traditional short route between India and Western Europe via the In¬ 
dian Ocean snd the Levant. The continental-minded Central Asian Muslim conquerors 
of the interior of the Indian sub-continent were as insensitive to landfalls on the 
coast as they were sensitive to passages of the Hindu Kush; and, though their latest 
representative, the Timurid Mughal empire-builder Bibur, crossed the Hindu Kush 
only six years, and descended from Kabul upon the Panjab only twenty-one years, after 
da Gama had arrived in India by sea, there is no mention of the Portuguese explorer’s 
feat in the memoirs of the Central Asian soldier. Even in the eyes of Babur’s grandson 
Akbar, the founder of the Mughal Rfij, the handful of Westerners squatting on sufferance 
in one or two ports on the fringes of his enormous realm were still little more than 
objects of curiosity as the pedlars of ingenious toys and the missionaries of an interesting 
religion. Indeed, the impact of the West on Mughal India hardly began to make itself felt 
seriously before the Mughal power had begun to go into decline after the death of 
Awrangzib in A.D. 1707. 


THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 199 
Mughal India, as in Ottoman Orthodox Christendom, the subjects of 
these Muslim rulers were feeling the attraction of their masters’ alien 
culture at the time when the Modem West appeared above their horizon, 
but subsequently transferred their cultural allegiance to this later-risen 
star as the West manifestly increased and the Islamic Society manifestly 
decreased in potency. These striking points of similarity between the 
two situations throw into relief, however, certain not less striking points 
of difference. 

For example, when the Ottoman Orthodox Christians made the cul¬ 
tural change of front in which they turned away from the Ottoman to¬ 
ward the Modern Western way of life, they had to overcome a traditional 
antipathy to the West which had become ingrained in the hearts of their 
ancestors as a result of an unfortunate experience of the West in a 

S revious encounter with it in its medieval phase. By contrast, the 
lindus, in their corresponding cultural reorientation, had no such un¬ 
happy memories to live down; for the encounter between the Hindu 
World and the West that began on the day when da Gama made his 
landfall at Calicut was virtually the first contact that had ever occurred 
between these two societies. 

Moreover, this difference in the antecedents is overshadowed by a still 
more important difference in the sequel. In the history of a non-Russian 
Orthodox Christendom the alien universal state which this society 
brought upon itself 1 remained in the hands of its original Iranic Muslim 
founders until it went into dissolution after reaching its natural term. An 
Ottoman Empire which fell on evil days before the close of the sixteenth 
century, when its classical regime of government through the PSdishah’s 
Slave-Household broke down after the death of Suleyman the Magnifi¬ 
cent, was restored in the course of the seventeenth century when, under 
the leadership of the House of Kdprulu, the free Muslim community in 
the Empire took over the reins of government 2 and secured effective 
assistance in its formidable task by taking the Phanariot leaders of a sub¬ 
ject Orthodox Christian community into a junior partnership with it¬ 
self. 3 The Mughal Empire achieved no corresponding recover}’ from the 
similar anarchy into which it fell after the death of Awrangzib, and, 
while the Hindu, like the Orthodox Christian, universal state lived out its 
life to the term of its natural expectation and likewise remained to the 
end in alien hands, there was in this case a transfer of control from one 
pair of alien hands to another. 

The empire which the Timurid war-lords’ feeble successors failed to 
hold together was reconstituted by British business men who stepped 
into Akbar’s shoes when they became aware that the framework of law 
and order in India, without which no Westerners could carry on their 
trade there, was going to be restored by the French if the British did not 

* The subjugation of the main body of Orthodox Christendom by the 'Osmanlis ia 
accounted for by the contemporary native historians Dhotikas and Phrantzls as being 
God’s judgement on His Orthodox Christian people for their sins; and this verdict may 
be accepted by an historian who does not believe that the Orthodox Christians were in any 
special sense God’s Chosen People if the particular sins for which the Orthodox Christ¬ 
ians had to pay this price may be identified with the two political vices of autocracy and 
factiousness. 1 See V. vi. 208-9. 

J Sec II. ii. 222-8; III. iii. 47-48; V. v. 154-5; «nd PP- *62-3, above. 



200 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
forestall these rivals by doing the work themselves. Thus the Westerniza¬ 
tion of the Hindu World entered on its critical stage in a period in which 
India was under Western rule, and in consequence the reception of the 
Modern Western culture was initiated in India, as in Russia, from above 
downwards, and not from below upwards, as in an Ottoman Orthodox 
Christendom. 

The Reception of a Modern Western Culture and its Political Consequences 

In this situation the Brahman and Banya castes of the Hindu Society, 
between them, succeeded in playing the part in Hindu history for which, 
in non-Russian Orthodox Christian history, the Phanariot Greeks made 
an unsuccessful bid. Under all political regimes in India, one of the 
prerogatives of the Brahmans had been to serve as ministers of state. 
They had played this part in the Indie World before playing it in an 
affiliated Hindu Society; and, after the breakdown of the Hindu 
Civilization in the twelfth century of the Christian Era 1 and the subse¬ 
quent progressive intrusion of Iranic Muslim invaders into a disintegrat¬ 
ing Hindu Society’s domain, 3 these alien intruders found it convenient, 
if not indispensable, to follow in this point the practice of the Hindu 
states which they were supplanting. Brahman ministers and minor offi¬ 
cials in the service of Muslim rulers made this alien rule less odious than 
it would otherwise have been to the Hindu majority of these Indian 
Muslim princes’ subjects, because these Brahman intermediaries under¬ 
stood how to handle their fellow Hindus and at the same time enjoyed 
a prestige in their eyes which reconciled the rank-and-file to following 
the dominant caste’s lead in accommodating themselves to an irksome 
alien political yoke. In making this use of the Brahmans the Mughal R 5 j 
followed the precedent of the parochial Indian Muslim states whose 
former dominions it had united under its own rule, and the British R 5 j, 
in its turn, followed the precedent of the Mughal Raj, 3 while British 
economic enterprise in India, both public and private, opened up 
corresponding opportunities for the Banyas. 

As a consequence of the transfer of the government of India to British 
hands, the policy of the British regime in making English, instead of 
Persian, the official language of the Indian imperial administration, and 
giving Western literature a preference over Persian and Sanskrit litera¬ 
ture as a medium of Indian higher education, 4 had as great an effect on 
Hindu cultural history as was made upon Russian cultural history by the 
Westernizing policy of Peter the Great. In the Hindu, as in the Russian, 
Society, Western letters, and, with them, a veneer of Western life, came 
into vogue among the dominant classes through the fiat of an autocratic 
oecumenical government and not through the personal initiative of 
private individuals, which was the agency through which the ra'tyeh of 
the Ottoman Porte had made themselves acquainted with the Modern 

* See IV. iv. 99-100. * See xi, maps 44 and 45. 

3 In enlisting the services of Hindus in the administration of British India, the British 
authorities did not deliberately give the Brahmans any special preference, but the 
Brahmans’ hereditary ascendancy in the Hindu Society enabled them once again to 
secure the lion’s share of the opportunity for themselves. 

* For these measures, see V. v. 516, n. 1 and VI. vii. 243. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 201 
Western culture. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Porte 
appointed Phanariot Greeks to posts of high responsibility and influence 
in the Ottoman public service because these Phanariots were already 
familiar with a Western World with which the Porte now found itself 
constrained to transact business. In the nineteenth century, high-caste 
Hindus went in for a Western education because a British regime in 
India had ruled that a familiarity with the English language and litera¬ 
ture should be the key to entry into the British Indian public service. 

While the Westernization of India thus proceeded from above down¬ 
wards on lines originally laid down by a British Raj primarily for its 
own administrative purposes, the process did not remain confined within 
limits that would have sufficed for the supply of minor civil servants to 
‘the Serkar’ and subordinate clerks to private British business houses. 
The governmental and commercial life of India could not be put upon a 
Western basis without introducing a Western leaven into Indian life over 
a wider range. The Westernization of Indian business and government 
called into existence in India two Western liberal professions, the 
University Faculty and the Bar; and in a Westernized Indian business 
activity based on private enterprise the most profitable openings could 
not be made a monopoly for European British subjects, as the highest 
positions in the Indian Civil Sen-ice were reserved for them in effect 
down to a.d. 1917. In these circumstances the Hindu community showed 
its ability by successfully turning its administrative, legal, and com¬ 
mercial talents to account under the exotic conditions set by a Western 
commercial and political ascendancy; and, long before the transfer of 
the government of India from English to Indian hands in the course 
of the thirty years a.d. 1917-47, there had grown up in India a new class 
of Westernized Hindu lawyers, business men, and industrialists as well 
as Westernized Indian members of the Imperial public service. 

It was inevitable that this new element in the Hindu Society, whose 
distinctive characteristic was its Western education, should aspire, as in 
Ottoman Orthodox Christendom the Phanariot Greeks had aspired in 
their day, to take over the oecumenical empire under which they were 
living from the alien hands by which it had been built, and to turn it 
into one of the parochial states of a Westernizing World on the constitu¬ 
tional pattern prevalent at the time at which this political ambition took 
conscious shape. At the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 
the Phanariots had dreamed an already anachronistic dream of turning 
the Ottoman Empire into an eighteenth-century Western enlightened 
monarchy. 1 At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the 
Westernizing political leaders of the Hindu World paid homage to a 
change in Western political ideals by setting themselves the far more 
difficult task of turning the British Indian Empire into a democratic 
Western national state. 

At a date less than five years after the completion of the transfer of the 
Government of India from English to Indian hands on the 15th August, 
1947, it was still far too early to attempt to forecast the outcome of this 
momentous political enterprise; but it was already possible to say that 
« See VI. vii. 29-31, and pp. 187-9, »bove. 



202 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Hindu statesmanship had been more successful than foreign well-wishers 
could have dared to hope in its efforts to salvage as much as possible 
of the political unity that had been perhaps the most precious British 
gift to an Indian sub-continent. 

As the transfer of political power had become imminent, this political 
unity had come into danger of being disrupted by two fissures in Indian 
political life which had been politically more or less innocuous so long 
as the Raj had been held in British hands. One of these fissures was the 
geographical division of India between territories of two political categor¬ 
ies: the British Indian provinces and the autonomous Indian princi¬ 
palities that were in treaty relations with the British Government. The 
other was the non-territorial division of India between two geographi¬ 
cally intermingled communities, the Hindus and the Indian Muslims, 
and the further subdivision of the Hindu community, likewise on non¬ 
territorial lines, into a number of castes, ranging from Brahmans to 
‘Untouchables’. These two lines of division cut across one another, and 
they were also of different age and unequal gravity. The geographical 
division between provinces and principalities was an accidental legacy 
of the history of the British conquest of India in the course of a hundred 
years beginning with the British occupation of Bengal at as recent a date 
as a.d. 1757-60. On the other hand the communal division of the people 
of India into a Hindu and a Muslim millet was as old as the Iranic 
Muslim conquest of Hindustan towards the close of the twelfth century 
of the Christian Era, 1 while the communal sub-division of the Hindu 
millet into castes was a legacy from the history of the antecedent Indie 
Civilization. It was not surprising that the Government of the Indian 
Union that came into existence on the 15th August, 1947, should have 
dealt more successfully with the problem of the princes than with the 
problems of the Muslim millet and the Depressed Classes; it was, how¬ 
ever, remarkable that the existence of these two communal problems 
should not have worked greater havoc than it did work at this critical 
moment in Indian liistory. 

By the year a.d. 1952 the Central Government of the Indian Union 
had already imposed its authority, by a show of force, on the Deccani 
state of Hyderabad, which was by far the largest, most populous, and 
most powerful of all the autonomous principalities inherited by the 
Indian Union from the British Raj within the frontiers with which the 
Union had emerged as a fully self-governing state member of the British 
Commonwealth of Nations; and it was actively engaged in carrying out 
a Gleichschaltung of the rest. This merger of the existing principalities 
in the new Union was not inequitable—whatever the princes’ legal rights 
might be—since Indians who were subjects of ex-client princes of a 
former British Raj had as strong a moral claim as Indians who had been 
subjects of the British Raj itself to share in the self-government which 
the former British rulers of India had conceded to the Indian people; 
and the change seemed unlikely to cause any serious regrets or to pro¬ 
voke any dangerous reactions, since there were few principalities, if any, 
in which a majority of the inhabitants might have been expected to opt 

» See IV. iv. 99. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 203 
for a continuance of the ancieti regime. On the other hand the Hindu 
leaders had been less successful in dealing with their Indian Muslim 
counterparts, since it had been beyond their power to coerce them, and 
had proved beyond their ability to persuade them, into renouncing their 
demand that a separate Muslim successor-state of the British Indian 
Empire should be constituted out of territories in which the Muslims 
were in a majority over the Hindus. 

The Indian Muslims’ motive in insisting upon the creation of Pakistan 
was a fear arising from a consciousness of weakness. They had not for¬ 
gotten how, in the eighteenth century of the Christian Era, the Mughal 
Raj had failed to maintain by the sword a dominion over India which 
the sword alone had won, and they were aware that, by the same arbitra¬ 
ment, the greater part of the Mughals’ former domain would have be¬ 
come the prize of Maratha and Sikh Hindu successor-states if British 
military intervention had not given the course of Indian political history 
a dramatically different turn by re-establishing an oecumenical govern¬ 
ment of India under British auspices. The Indian Muslims realized 
that, but for this, they would not only have lost their former dominion 
over the Hindus but would have paid for their harshness in the exercise 
of it by suffering a reversal of roles in which it would have been their 
turn to taste the tribulations of ‘under dog’. They also knew that, 
although they had been fortunate enough to escape from a perilous pass 
with no worse a fate than to find themselves placed on a political parity 
with the Hindus under the rule of a third party, they had again allowed 
themselves to be outstripped by the Hindus in a phase of the perennial 
conflict between these two Indian communities in which a British arbiter 
had decreed that the pen should be substituted for the sword as the 
weapon to be employed in a trial of strength in which the destinies of the 
two parties were as seriously at stake as if this new-fangled academic 
competition had not replaced the old-fashioned ordeal by battle. 

On the morrow of the British occupation of Bengal in a.d. 1757-60 the 
Bengali Hindus who had thereby come under British rule had promptly 
divined that a mastery of Modern Western arts w’ould be the key to 
success in a w-orld that was passing under Western control and was being 
remoulded to a Western pattern; and, by the date of the transfer of 
power in India in a.d. 1947, the Panjabi Hindus likewise had been 
profiting for all but a hundred years from the opportunities for Western¬ 
ization that had been afforded to them by the British conquest of their 
country in the fifth decade of the nineteenth century. By comparison, 
the Indian Muslims—handicapped by an intellectual inertia that was 
the legacy of a former military and political ascendancy, and demoralized, 
instead of being stimulated, by the shock of their military and political 
debacle—had been slow in taking their cue in a race in which the victory 
would fall to the most successful Indian adepts in the alien technique 
of Modern Western life; and, though in the course of the nineteenth 
century the Indian Muslims did wake up and start to run, they were 
too late to have been able to make up for lost time by the date in the 
twentieth century when they were confronted with the prospect of 
having to compete with the Hindus once again, as in the eighteenth 



204 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
century, without there being an all-powerful British arbiter to hold the 
ring and to guarantee the weaker party against the appalling risk of being 
made to pay the uttermost penalty for incompetence. 

For these reasons the Indian Muslims insisted in a.d. 1947 on having 
a separate successor-state of their own, and the consequent partition of 
the former British Indian Empire between the two new Dominions of 
India and Pakistan threatened to reproduce, on a sub-continental scale, 
the tragic consequences that had followed from the partition of the 
Ottoman Empire during the century beginning with the Greek uprising 
in a.d. 1821. In a twentieth-century British India, as in a nineteenth- 
century Ottoman Orthodox Christendom, the attempt to sort out geo¬ 
graphically intermingled millets into territorially separate and severally 
self-contained national states led to the drawing of frontiers that were 
execrable from the administrative and economic points of view; even at 
this price, huge minorities were left on the wrong sides of the new 
dividing lines; there was a panic flight of millions of refugees who 
abandoned their homes and property, were harried by embittered adver¬ 
saries in the course of a terrible trek, and arrived destitute in the un¬ 
familiar country in which they had to start life again among unknown 
co-religionists; and there was one section of the border between India 
and Pakistan where even this calamity was eclipsed by the still greater 
evil of an undeclared war for the possession of the autonomous princi¬ 
pality of Kashmir, whose Muslim population was under the rule of a 
Hindu dynasty. By the year a.d. 1952, however, effective efforts had 
been made by Indian statesmen, both at Delhi and at Karachi, to save 
India from following this dreadful Ottoman course to the bitter end. 
The still un-uprooted minorities on both sides of the line had been 
sufficiently reassured to bring the flow of refugees to a halt; the dispute 
over Kashmir had been referred to the United Nations Organization 
for settlement by conciliation; and, while this task had proved to be a 
depressingly baffling one, it was, on the other hand, encouraging to 
observe that the political malady of Nationalism, which had split India 
into two, did not here show any signs of carrying its disintegrating 
effect farther, as it had carried it in the Ottoman Empire, by impelling 
the divers nationalities embraced within each of the two principal millets 
to demand separate territorial sovereignties in their turn. 

In the Ottoman Empire, as we have seen, the several nationalities 
comprised in the Orthodox Christian Millet-i-Rum had broken away 
simultaneously from their Muslim masters and from one another, and 
the Muslims themselves had eventually followed this unfortunate 
example by developing separate Turkish, Arab, Albanian, and Kurdish 
national consciousnesses. In a twentieth-century India the potentialities 
of disruption were at least as great within the bosom of the Hindu and 
the Muslim community alike. The Bengali Muslim differed from the 
Panjabi Muslim as greatly as the Bengali Hindu differed from the 
Panjabi Hindu or Sikh; and in the Hindu World there were linguistic 
barriers far sharper than those dividing the Northern Indian speakers of 
divers dialects of the same Aryan language. The Dravidian languages of 
the South were members of an entirely different family. Yet, notwith- 


THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 205 
standing the existence of these latent incentives to disruption, a politi¬ 
cally emancipated Hindu community was not showing violent fissiparous 
tendencies on lines of nationality any more than on lines of caste. Thus, 
at the time of writing, Indian prospects were, on the whole, encouraging 
from a short-term political point of view; and, if the impact of the 
Modern West did still threaten the Hindu World with serious perils, 
these were to be looked for not so much on the political surface of life as 
in its economic subsoil and its spiritual depths, and were perhaps likely 
there to take some time in coming to a head. 

The Gulf between a Hindu and a Post-Christian Western Weltanschauung 

The obvious special perils of Westernization which the Hindu World 
had to apprehend were two. In the first place the Hindu and the Western 
Civilization had hardly any common cultural background and were 
strikingly alien from one another in £thos in this age. In the second place 
the Hindus who had mastered the intellectual content of an exotic 
Modern Western culture with a virtuosity that rivalled the performance 
of the Phanariots were a tiny minority perched on the backs of a vast 
majority of ignorant and destitute peasants as precariously as, in the 
constitution of the Human Psyche, the Consciousness hovers over the 
abyss of the Subconscious. By the date of India’s attainment of political 
independence as a state member of a comity of Western and Westerniz¬ 
ing nations, the radiation of the Western culture into the Hindu World 
had affected only the top layer of the society. Yet there was no ground 
for expecting to see the process of Western cultural penetration come to 
a stop at that level, while there were strong grounds for forecasting that, 
when it began to leaven the peasant mass beneath, it would also begin 
there to produce novel and revolutionary effects. 

The cultural gulf between the Hindu Society and the Modern Western 
Society at the time when the top layer of the Hindu Society had begun 
to be appreciably affected by Western influence had been wider than 
that between the Russian Orthodox Christian, Ottoman Orthodox 
Christian, Ottoman Muslim, and Modern Western societies whose 
encounters with one another we have surveyed in previous sections of 
this chapter. 

Differentiated though these four societies had been by the diversity 
of their individual experiences and achievements, they had retained 
nevertheless an affinity with one another in virtue of a common cultural 
heritage derived from a single pair of antecedent civilizations, the 
Hellenic and the Syriac. 1 By contrast, the Hindu Society was not re¬ 
lated either to the Western or to the Iranic Muslim Society by any 
comparable degree of kinship; for, though a tincture of both the Hellenic 
and the Syriac culture could be traced in the veins of the Hindu body 
social too, the dilution was in both cases weak. 2 Moreover, the difference 

* Sec pp. 90-91, below. 

* The western fringe of the domain of the Hindu Civilirat ion’s predecessor the Indie 
Society had been annexed by Cyrus II and by Darius I to an Achaemenian Empire which 
had served as the Syriac Society’s universal state (see VI. vii. 63, 634, and 649), 
and the transmission of some measure of Syriac cultural influence from the Indie 
Society to the Hindu was attested by the Syriac provenance of the Khardshthi Alphabet 



206 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
in £thos between the Hindu Weltanschauung and the Western Weltan¬ 
schauung in the Late Modern version in which this first began to make 
an impression on Hindu souls was no mere diversity; it was an outright 
antithesis; for by the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
of the Christian Era the Modern West, as we have seen, 1 had fabricated 
a secular version of its cultural heritage from which Religion was 
eliminated in order to give primacy to Technology, whereas the Hindu 
Society, like its Indie predecessor, was and remained religious to the 
core—so much so, indeed, as to be open to the charge of ‘religiosity’ if, 
as that pejorative word implies, there can in truth be such a thing as an 
excessive concentration of psychic energy on a spiritual activity which is 
Man’s most important pursuit. 1 

This antithesis between a passionately religious and a deliberately 
secular outlook on life cut deeper than any diversity of vein between one 
religion and another; and in this point the Hindu, the Islamic, and the 
Early Modern Western Christian cultures were more in sympathy with 
one another than any one of them was with the secular culture of the 
West in its late modern phase. Though the religion of the Hindu World 
was of Indie provenance, while the religions of the Islamic and Early 
Modern Western Christian worlds were derived from Judaism, this 
diversity of historical origins was of less moment than the consensus of 
all three societies in taking it for granted that Religion—whatever the 
orthodox presentation of it might be held to be—was the mainspring 
and meaning of Man’s existence. On the strength of this common belief, 
it had been possible for Hindus to become converts to Islam and to 
Roman Catholic Christianity without subjecting themselves to an in¬ 
tolerable spiritual tension. The Muslims of Eastern Bengal and the 
Roman Catholics of Goa were living evidence of this; for both these 
communities were descended from Hindu converts with only a slight 
admixture of Central Asian blood in the one case and West European 
blood in the other. 

This proven ability of Hindus to make their way on to alien cultural 
ground by a religious approach was significant, because, if religiosity 
was the Hindu Civilization’s chief distinguishing mark, its next most 
conspicuous feature was aloofness. This characteristic aloofness was, no 
doubt, overcome in the intellectual compartment of their spiritual life 
by those Hindus who, from the latter part of the eighteenth century of 
the Christian Era onwards, acquired a secular Modern Western educa¬ 
tion and thereby qualified for playing a part in the reconstruction of the 
political and economic sides of Indian life on a Modem Western basis; 

(see V. V. too). The Hellenic culture had bitten deeper into Indie life; it shared the 
credit for the genesis of the Mshiyina, as was attested by the Hellenic element in the 
style of Mahayanian Buddhist art (sec 111 . iii. 131 and 247, n. 2; V. v. 134, 196, and 
4S1). This Hellenistic art, however, had become an heirloom, not of the Hindu World, 
but of the Far East, for the Indie Society had succeeded in expelling this intrusive 
Hellenic element from its own body social before going into dissolution, and the 
religion of Hinduism, which had been the symbol and the agent of this anti-Hellenic 
reaction in Indie souls, had also served as the chrysalis for incubating the Indie Society's 
Hindu successor. 

1 On p. 118, with n. 9, above. 

* This vein of religiosity in the Indie and Hindu civilization has been noticed in 
III. iii. 384-5. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 207 
but the recruits of this unhappy intelligentsia performed a valuable 
social service as cultural intermediaries between the Hindu and the 
Modern Western World at the cost of a schism in their souls which did 
not afflict cither the Bengali Muslim or the Goanese Roman Catholic 
descendants of apostates from the Hindu, but not from the religious, 
outlook on life. This Hindu intelligentsia bred by the British Raj re¬ 
mained aloof in their hearts from the secular Modern Western way of 
life with which their minds had become familiar; and this discord pro¬ 
duced a deep-seated spiritual malaise in Hindu souls 1 which could not 
be cured by the political panacea of obtaining full self-government for an 
Indian national state organized on a contemporary Western pattern. 
Indeed, the relaxation of a political tension might actually bring the 
spiritual tension to a head by leaving a Westernizing Hindu intellect 
tite-d-tite with an unconscionably religious Hindu soul, without any 
further possibility of avoiding a painful searching of heart through find¬ 
ing a scapegoat in an English interloper whose alien regime might 
plausibly be held responsible for all Indian ills, psychological as well as 
political. 

The Aloofness of a Reformed British Civil Service in India 

The unyielding spiritual aloofness of Western-educated Hindu minds 
would in any case have been a formidable problem both for the human 
beings whose Hindu souls were being racked by an unresolved discord 
and for the Hindu Society in which these inharmonious ‘intellectuals’ 
were called upon to take the lead in an age of Hindu history in which a 
collision between the Hindu and the secular Modern Western culture 
was the dominant event in social as well as personal life. The situation 
had been aggravated, however, by the mischance that this unmitigated 
spiritual aloofness on the Hindu side had been matched by an accentuated 
spiritual aloofness in the souls of the Western rulers with whom the 
Hindu intelligentsia had to do business under the regime of the British 
R 3 j. Between the year a.d. 1786, in which Cornwallis assumed the 

« The spiritual malaise which is the occupational disease of an intelligentsia has been 
noticed in V. v. 154-9, and is examined further on pp. 338-43, below. The sharpness of 
the psychological tension in twentieth-century Hindu souls that had been Westernized 
intellectually while remaining Hindu in feeling, intuition, and sensation (to use C. G. 
Jung’s categories) may be gauged from the testimony of nineteenth-century Russian 
souls in which the gulf between a traditional way of life and an exotic Western Weltan¬ 
schauung was much less wide, and the tension therefore proportionately less severe. 
Unhappy though they were in almost everything else, the nineteenth-century Russian 
intelligentsia were fortunate in being gifted with a power of artistic expression and in 
being moved to use this gift as a vent for relieving their spiritual malaise by discharging 
their feelings in works of literature. This literary secretion from a culturally sick body 
social was a pearl of great price for the historian as well as for the psychologist and the 
man of letters. Out of the vast wealth of evidence which it offered to the student of 
encounters between contemporaries of diverse culture, we may file here one passage 
culled from the memoirs of Alexander Herzen (vivebat a.d. 1812-70), the natural son 
of a Russian nobleman by a girl from Stuttgart: 

'In Russia men exposed to the influence of this mighty Western movement became 
original, but not historical, figures. Foreigners at home, foreigners in other lands, idle 
spectators, spoilt for Russia by Western prejudices and for the West by Russian habits, 
they were a sort of intellectual superfluity and were lost in artificial life, in sensual 
pleasure, and in unbearable egoism' (Herzen, Alexander: My Past and Thoughts, 
translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett (London 1924, Chat to and Windus, 
6 vols.), vol. i, p. 94 ). 



208 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
governor-generalship of British India with a mandate to reform the 
administration, 1 and the year a.d. 1858, which saw the completion of 
the transfer of British political authority in India from the East India 
Company to the Crown, there was a profound, and on the whole un¬ 
toward, change in the attitude of the European-born British ruling class 
in India towards their Indian-born fellow subjects. 

In the eighteenth century the English in India, like their predecessors 
the Mughals and the Portuguese, had followed unselfconsciously the 
custom of the country, not excluding the custom of abusing power, but 
they had also likewise been on familiar terms of personal intercourse 
with the Indians whom they unscrupulously cheated and oppressed. In 
the course of the nineteenth century they achieved a notable moral rally. 
The intoxication with suddenly acquired power and the demoraliza¬ 
tion by suddenly opened facilities for illicit personal enrichment which 
had disgraced the first generation of English rulers in Bengal were 
successfully overcome by a new ideal of moral integrity, which required 
the English civil servant in India to look upon his power as a public 
responsibility and not as a personal opportunity. The stages in this 
moral redemption of the British Raj in India by British consciences can 
be followed from the India Act of a.d. 1784 to the introduction, in a.d. 
1855,* a competitive examination as the gate of entry into the Indian 
Civil Service ; 3 but pari passu we can also follow the waning of personal 
familiarity between English residents in India and their Indian neigh¬ 
bours, until the all too humanly Indianized English 'nabob’ has changed, 
out of recognition, into the professionally irreproachable and personally 
unapproachable English civil servant who said goodbye in a.d. 1947 to 
an India to whom he had dedicated his working life without making her 
his home. 

In the eighteenth century, after the decay of the Mughal Raj had gone 
far enough to break down the containing walls of the factories in which 
Western merchants had hitherto been living in isolation 4 like their 
counterparts in the Sloboda at Moscow before the days of Peter the 
Great, 5 the English who went to India in divers capacities—in the ser¬ 
vice of the East India Company, in the service of Indian princes, or as 
free-lance military and political adventurers hoping to carve out suc¬ 
cessor-states of the Mughal Empire on their own account 6 —were all of 

1 A second date which was fateful for the future course of relations between Indians 
and English was the year a.d. 1709, which saw Wellesley initiate a systematic conquest 
of India by British arms. While the British occupation of Bengal in a.d. 1757-60 might 
perhaps not inaccurately be described as an act of empire-building by inadvertence, this 
description certainly would not apply to the British conquest of the rest of the sub¬ 
continent during the fifty years a.d. 1799-1849. This military programme was de¬ 
liberately taken in hand in a.d. 1799 with an eye to forestalling a re-entry of the French 
into India, and it was deliberately carried forward after A.D. 18:4 in order to round off 
a British Raj with which the French were thereafter no longer in a position to interfere. 

2 See Blunt, Sir E.: The Indian Civil Service (London 1937, Faber), p. 46. 

> The British Indian Civil Service has been noticed in this Study, in other contexts, 
in V. v. 47~48 and VI. vii. 364-5. 

4 See Spear, T. G. P.: The Nabobs: A Study 0/ the Social Life of the English in Eigh¬ 
teenth-Century India (London 1932, Milford), p. 22. * See p. 130, above. 

6 See Compton, H. E.: A Particular Account of the European Military Adventurers of 
Hindustan, 1784-2803 (London 1892 (1st cd.) and 1896 (2nd cd.), Fisher Unwin); 
Grey, C., and Garrett, H. L. O.: European Adventurers in Northern India, 1785-1849 
(Lahore 1929, Punjab Government Press). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 209 
one mind in looking forward to making themselves at home in the 
country, as other foreign conquerors of India had done before them. In 
this Indianizing movement the free-lance adventurers went the fastest 
and the farthest. 1 For example, Claude Martin (vivebat a.d. 1735-1800), 
a French soldier of fortune who, after the fall of Pondicherry in a.d. 
1761, had taken military service first with the British and then with the 
Nawab of Oudh, 2 ‘was nearly as Indianizcd as the Nawab was Euro¬ 
peanized'. 3 At Lucknow, Martin had four concubines and a household of 
eunuchs and slaves; but he combined this Mughal pomp and luxury 
with a cosmopolitan culture, for he also had 4,000 Western books 
(Latin, French, Italian, and English), a collection of Persian and Sanskrit 
manuscripts, and a hundred oil paintings, including works by Zoffany 
and the two Daniells. 4 Among the English servants of the British East 
India Company in Martin’s generation the ideal of emulating in India 
the career of the London city merchant who became an English country 
squire was replaced, after the Company’s victory over a Mughal naw 5 b 
at the Battle of Plassey ( commissum a.d. 1757), by the ideal of becoming 
a ‘nabob’. 5 

Instead of continuing to marry Goan Portuguese Christian wives, the 
Company’s English servants now took, like Martin, to keeping zenanas 
alia MorescaS Till circa a.d. 1800 there was no prejudice, in this Anglo- 
Indian society, against ‘natural children’, and these would be sent to 
England for their education if not too dark ‘to escape detection’. 7 The 
Indian mothers of these well-beloved children were sometimes married 
in lawful wedlock by the children’s English fathers. The English servants 
of the East India Company who went the fastest and the farthest in this 
direction were the collectors—a new class of civil servants, stationed not 
in Calcutta but throughout the country-side, which had been called into 
existence in a.d. 1772 8 as a consequence of the Company’s acquisition, 
in a.d. 1765, of the financial administration of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, and 
the Northern Circars. 9 These widely scattered English representatives 
of the Company came under the social influence of the Bengali nawabs 
and zamindSrs among whom they were living, and they transmitted this 
current of Indian cultural radiation to other English people in India. 10 
The English in India took to learning Persian;" and, through this 
sympathetic medium of intercourse, they made Indian friends. They 
found Muslim princes more congenial than MarSthSs; 12 but, besides the 
Muslim country gentry, their friends included cultivated Indian official 
colleagues of theirs, some of whom were Hindus, 13 and Hastings’ 14 own 
personal circle of Indian friends was knit by such genuine ties of feeling 
that, twenty years after he had left India, the survivors continued to 
make affectionate inquiries after him. 15 

This easy and intimate cosmopolitan eighteenth-century Anglo- 

' See Spear, op. cit., p. >33. * See ibid., pp. 83-85. 

1 Ibid., p. 133- 4 Sec ibid., p. 85. » See ibid.,pp. 32 and 37. 

6 Sec ibid., pp. 36-37. 7 Ibid., p. 63. * See ibid., p. 31. 

« See VI. vii. 365. 10 See Spear, op. cit., pp. 3 >~ 3 *- 

«« See ibid., p. 136. »» Sec ibid., p. 135. «» See ibid., p. 136. 

'• Governor of Bengal, A.D. 177a; Governor-General of Britilh India, A.D. 1774-85. 
15 Sec ibid., pp. 135-6. 


2io ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Indian life startled a twentieth-century English student of History by its 
manifest freedom from subsequently erected barriers to social inter¬ 
course between English people and Indians when scenes from it were 
brought before his eye in contemporary pictures by John Zoffany 
(vivebat a.d. 1735-1810) and other English artists of the day. 1 This 
historical spectacle was startling because the genial ‘cosmopolitanism’ 
to which it bore witness had been swiftly superseded and permanently 
replaced by a bleaker social climate. This counter-movement, which 
first declared itself in symptoms that might have been discounted as 
trivial, eventually spread to the vital sphere of personal relations. The 
substitution of Western for Oriental military music in the Company’s 
forces at Madras in a.d. 1767 2 was followed, after Hastings’ recall in 
a.d. X785, by the banning of Oriental music in the social life of the 
English community in India. 1 Arrack went the same way; 4 and the habit 
of nargllah-smoking, which had replaced pipe-smoking circa a.d. 1754-5, 
declined after a.d. 1773.* By a.d. 1827 it had come to be regarded as 
extremely bad taste for an English lady in India to wear Indian orna¬ 
ments, 6 and, before the turn of the century, the contemporary Western 
styles of Hellenistic ‘classical’ architecture and gardening were already 
being applied in British India tels quels . 7 The exclusion of half-castes 
from the British Indian public service in a.d. 1792 s by Cornwallis 
(fungebatur a.d. 1786-93) was a graver portent which foreshadowed 
Wellesley’s deliberate creation of a social distance between English and 
Indians. "WcUesleyffungebatur a.d. 1798-1805) adopted a hectoring tone 
in his dealings with Indians, and he stopped the practice of inviting 
Indians and half-castes to official parties. 9 

‘Race prejudice at the beginning of the [eighteenth] century was instinc¬ 
tive, and disappeared with time and better acquaintance; at the end it was 
doctrinal, and precluded the acquaintance w’hich might have removed it.’ 10 


1 Sec, for example, Zoffany’* picture (in which Claude Martin figures) of Colonel 
Mordaunt’s cock match at Lucknow, a.d. 1786, painted for Warren Hastings, and his 
portrait group of the Palmer family, probably also painted at the same place in the same 
year. ‘Major William Palmer is looking at his wife, the Bibi FS’iz Bakhsh, who is seated 
on his right with her three children. The Bibi’s sister is on Palmer's left, and three 
women attendants complete the group’ (Catalogue of Exhibition of Art, chiefly from the 
Dominions of India and Pakistan (London 1947-8, Royal Academy of Arts)). These two 
pictures bear witness to the familiarity of the relations between the latc-cightecnth- 
ccntury English in India and their Indian contemporaries in private life: and this un¬ 
selfconscious practice of doing in India as India does was followed by them in affairs 
of state ns well. Zoffany’s picture of a durbar (Plate No. 4. in the Journal of the Royal 
Society of Arts, vol. xcviii, No. 4820, of the 5th May. 1950, illustrating Sir W. Foster’s 

B per on 'British Artists in India’ on pp. 518-25 of the same issue) portrays Warren 
istincs and his English staff seated cross-legged on the ground, transacting business 
with a Mughal potentate bolstered on a carpet. While the other Englishmen betray some 
signs of physical discomfort, Hastings is manifestly at his ease. 

* Sec Spear, op. cit., p. 30. J See ibid., p. 33. * See ibid., p. 34. 

J See ibid., pp. 36 and 98. On the other hand the cult of cleanliness, which the 
eighteenth-century Englishman in India had acquired from his Indian contemporaries, 
was transmitted by him to his twentieth-century compatriots in Great Britain (see ibid., 

6 t>ee ibid., p. 142* 1 Sec ibid., pp. 34 and 5 ©-sr. 

8 See ibid., p. 63. « See ibid., p. 138. 

»o Spear, op. cit., p. 144. The spirit of the pre-Wellesley phase of Anglo-Indian rela¬ 
tions died hardest at Bombay, where the commercial interests and activities of the 
English community continued to overshadow the field of government and administration 
(see ibid., pp. 134-5)- At Bombay (and likewise at Surat) the course of events was evolu- 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 211 

Why was it that the former free-and-easy personal relations died away 
so unluckily in an age when the loss of their beneficent influence on 
Anglo-Indian relations could least well be afforded? No doubt the 
change was due to the combined operation of a number of different 
causes. 

In the first place the latter-day English official in the Indian Civil 
Service might fairly plead that his unfortunate aloofness from the 
Indians whom he governed was the inevitable price of his precious moral 
integrity in the discharge of a public trusteeship. How could a man be 
expected to act professionally like a god without also retaining the airs of 
a god in private life ? Another, and less estimable, cause of the change of 
attitude was perhaps the pride inspired by conquest; for by a.d. 1849, 
and indeed by a.d. 1803, the military and political power of the 
English in India had become sensationally stronger than it had been in 
a.d. 1786, not to speak of a.d. 1757.' The operation of these two causes 
had been analysed acutely by a twentieth-century English student of 
the history of Indo-British social and cultural relations. 

‘As the [eighteenth] century drew to its close, a change in the social 
atmosphere gradually came about. The frequency of... “reciprocal enter¬ 
tainments” decreased, the formation of intimate friendships with Indians 
ceased-The higher posts of the Government were filled with appoint¬ 

ments from England; its designs became more imperial and its attitude 
more haughty and aloof. The gulf which Mussulman nawabs and English 
tons viveurs, diplomatic pandits and English scholars had for a time 
bridged over began ominously to widen again. ... A “superiority com¬ 
plex” was forming which regarded India not only as a country whose 
institutions were bad and* people corrupted, but one which was by its 
nature incapable of ever becoming any better . . . 

‘It is one of the ironies of Indo-European relations in India that the 
purging of the administration coincided with the widening of the racial 
gulf 2 . . . . The days of corrupt Company officials, of illgotten fortunes, of 
oppression of ryots, of zenanas and of illicit sexual connexions, were also 
the days when Englishmen were interested in Indian culture, wrote 
Persian verses, and foregathered with pandits and maulvis and nawabs 

tionary, not revolutionary (*« ibid., p. 75). English and Indian business men went on 
meeting on equal term*, and, between the English and the Parsecs, social relations were 
intimate (sec ibid., pp. 72,74-75, and 127). No doubt Bombay benefited from the stimu¬ 
lus of being India’s maritime march in an Oceanic age of history (see II. ii. 133). AH the 
same, on the 25th September, 1929, the writer of this Study wag reproved at Bombay by 
his English hosts there for having made the faux pas of taking an omnibus. It was ex¬ 
plained to him that, in Bombay, it was beneath an Englishman’s dignity to ride in a 
public conveyance. He ought to have ridden solitary in a cab. 

« Spear points out (in op. cit., pn. 32-33 and «J°) 'bat ‘the period of cosmopolitan 
intercourse’ between English and Indians in India, which can be couated approxi¬ 
mately with the term of Warren Hastings' governor-generalship (fungebatur A.D. 1774- 

S was also the period in which there was a balance of political power between the 
ish East India Company and the Indian successor-states of the Mughal RSj. Welles¬ 
ley ( fungtbatur a.d. 1798-1805), during whose governor-generalship first Tippu Sahib 
and then the Marathis were overthrown, and who introduced a viceregal splendour 
into the governor-general’s mise-rn-scine (see Spear, op. cit., p. 65), was alto the moving 
spirit in the deliberate adoption of a pointed attitude of haughty aloofness towards the 
English conquerors’ Indian subjects on the part of an alien English dominant minority. 

* The earliest recorded complaints of British race-feeling in India come from James 
Skinner (vivebar a.d. 1778-1841), a military adventurer with Indian blood in his veins 
who went over from the Marathi to the British service on the eve of the British assault 
on the Mara this in A.D. 1803 (Spear, op. cit., p. 13). 



2i2 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

on terms of social equality and personal friendship. The tragedy of 
Cornwallis ... was that in uprooting the acknowledged evils of corruption 
he upset the social balance without which mutual understanding was 
impossible. . . . Cornwallis . . . made a new governing class by his ex¬ 
clusion of all Indians from the higher governmental posts. Corruption 
was stamped out at the cost of equality and cooperation. In his own mind, 
as in the commonly accepted view, there was a necessary connexion be¬ 
tween the two measures; "Every native of Hindustan”, he said, “I verily 
believe, is corrupt”. . . . He thought English corruption could be solved 
by reasonable salaries, and did not stop to consider that the advantage of 
Indian goodwill made it at least worth trying as a remedy for Indian 
corruption also. He never thought of creating an Indian imperial bureau¬ 
cracy on the model of Akbar’s mansabdars, which by special training, 
proper salaries and the encouragement of equal treatment, promotion and 
honours, might have been bound to the Company as the Moghul officials 
were bound to the Emperor.’ 1 * 

A third cause of estrangement was the speeding-up of communica¬ 
tions between India and England as a consequence of certain early 
nineteenth-century achievements of Modern Western technology. The 
reopening and the subsequent improvement of the short route between 
Western Europe and India via Egypt—first by portage on camel-back 
between Alexandria and Suez from sailing-ship to sailing-ship, then by 
steam instead of sail and by railway instead of camel caravan, and 
finally by the opening of the Suez Canal in a.d. 1869*—made it feasible 
for English people to travel to and fro between England and India so 
quickly and frequently that an English civil servant or business man 
posted in India could now bring out an English wife to join him, 3 and 
could go on to bring up his children in England without completely 
breaking up his family life, especially after the linking up of India with 
England by telegraph in a.d. 1865. Thanks to the doubtful blessing of 
these technological miracles, the latter-day English employee in India 
contrived to do his work there as a pilgrim and a sojourner who remained 
psychologically domiciled in a home on English ground. 4 

The three so far enumerated causes of latter-day English aloofness 
from the Indians among whom the English in India worked were all of 
the Englishman’s making; but there was perhaps a fourth cause, and one 
more potent than the rest, of which the Englishman in India was the 
victim and not the originator. An Indian who had experienced and 

1 Spear, T. G. P.: The Nabobs: A Study of the Soeial Life of the English in Eighteenth- 
Century India (London 1932, Milford), pp. 136, 137, 145, and 137. 

* See Hoskins, H. L.: British Routes to India (London 1928, Longmans Green), 
P- 383- 

3 According to Spear, op. cit., pp. 140-2, the social self-insulation of the English 
in India was promoted by the increase in the number of English women in India—and 
also by the increase in the number of evangelical Protestant English missionaries, 
whose attitude towards 'the heathen’ was bigoted. 

♦ While the technological revolution in means of communication was the new factor 
that made this attitude of aloofness come to prevail among Englishmen serving in India 
in all capacities, the psychological change had been initiated, while the sailing ship was 
still in its heyday, by the soldiers of the Royal British Army as soon as units of this force 
had begun to be posted in India. The Royal troops 'inaugurated the conception of 
service in India as a temporary vocation undertaken with a view to retirement in Eng¬ 
land' (Spear, op. cit., p. 31), whereas the officers of the newly raised Company troops 
‘in civil life conformed to their Anglo-Indian environments’ (ibid., p. 30). 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 213 
resented the latter-day English resident’s aloofness might feel more 
charitably towards this originally self-invited (and eventually also self- 
dismissed) intruder if he were to recollect that, for perhaps as long as 
three thousand years before the advent of the English in India, the 
sub-continent had been saddled with the institution of Caste; that the 
Hindu Society had accentuated a trait which it had inherited from its 
Indie predecessor; and that after the departure of the English, as before 
their arrival, the people of India were still afflicting themselves with a 
social evil of their own making. Looked at in the long perspective of 
Indian history, the aloofness which the English in India developed 
during the hundred and fifty years of their raj could be diagnosed as 
being a mild attack of the chronic Indian psychological malady of castc- 
mindedness. It was perhaps not altogether surprising or altogether in¬ 
excusable that, in the course of their sojourn in India, the English 
should have been affected in their turn by an age-old sub-continental 
atmosphere. 1 

The Unsolved Problem of a Rising Pressure of Population 

While the aggravating effect of a latter-day English aloofness on the 
spiritual discord in intellectually Westernized Hindu souls might be 

« This fourth possible explanation of the aloofness to which the English in India 
gradually succumbed might account for the striking difference, in their attitude towards 
'natives’i between the latter-day English in India and their Dutch contemporaries in 
Indonesia. In Insular India the personal relations between the Dutch and the Javanese 
were still, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, much what the relations between 
the English and the Hindus in Continental India had been in the eighteenth century. 
Down to the moment of the liquidation of the Dutch Empire in Indonesia by the 
Japanese conquest in a.d. 1942, the Dutch were still bringing up in Java children of 
undiluted Dutch blood, and at the same time intermarrying with the Javanese and 
reckoning the issue of mixed marriages as Europeans. Why, in Java, did no refrigeration 
of the psychological atmosphere occur, considering that the first three of the four 
possible causes of the change in British India were all operative in Netherlands India 
likewise? Might not the answer be that in Indonesia the fourth of the causes that we 
have enumerated was not at work, and that this difference in the situation made all the 
difference to the course of events? A difference in the cultural environment had not 
always existed, for, from the fifth to the fifteenth century of the Christian Era, Indonesia 
had been an overseas colonial extension of the Hindu World; but, between the decline 
and fall of the Hindu Indonesian Empire of Majnpahit during the hundred years ending 
in a.d. 1318 and the arrival of the Dutch in a.d. 159s, Indonesia was captured from the 
Hindu Society by the Arabic Muslim Society, and In a.d. 1952 the only living monu¬ 
ment of the Hindu Age in the Archipelago was the persisting Hinduism of the inhabi¬ 
tants of the little island of Bali. Thus, since before the beginning of the Dutch Rai in 
Indonesia, the prevailing religion in the Archipelago had come to be Islam; and, of all 
the living higher religions, Islam—standing, as it did, for equality between all loyal 
Muslim subjects of a single sovereign Lord God—was the most inimical, in practice as 
well as in theory, to the institution of Caste. Perhaps, therefore, it was no accident that 
in an Indonesia where Islam held the field the Dutch should have remained immune 
from the caste spirit in an age when the English were succumbing to it in a Continental 
India where Islam had never succeeded in gaining the allegiance of a majority of the 
population and had recently also suffered a political eclipse. 

In another context (in II. i. 211-27), wc have observed that, in the matter of race feel¬ 
ing, Roman Catholic Western Christians had, on the whole, come nearer than Protestant 
Western Christians to approaching the Islamic standard, though in most other respects 
Protestantism had more affinity with Islam than Roman Catholicism had. An un¬ 
fortunate inspiration from the Old Testament appears to account for the badness of the 
record of the Dutch settlers in South Africa and the English settlers in North America, 
by comparison with the French Canadians, in their behaviour towards the 'Canaanites' 
whom they found in the land. A common Protestantism, however, cannot explain either 
the diversity of Dutch Protestant behaviour in South Africa and in Indonesia or the 
diversity of English Protestant behaviour in India in the eighteenth and in the twentieth 
century. 





2 X 4 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
relieved by the termination of the British Raj, the ameliorative effect of 
British administration on the condition and expectations of the Indian 
peasantry was a British legacy which might prove to be a mill-stone 
round the necks of the British civil servants’ Hindu successors in the 
government of India. 

Under a Pax Britannica that had been maintained for more than a 
hundred years, the natural resources of the sub-continent had been eked 
out in divers ways: by the building of a net-work of railways which made 
it possible for surplus food-supplies in one area to be transported to 
another area where there was a shortage; by the irrigation of previously 
uncultivated areas in the Panjab; and, above all, by an able and con¬ 
scientious administration. By the time of the departure of their English 
rulers in a.d. 1947, the Indian peasantry, uneducated though they still 
were in the academic sense, had perhaps become just sufficiently alive to 
the material achievements of a scientifically developed Modern Western 
technology and the political ideals of a Christian-hearted Modern 
Western democracy 1 to begin to question both the justice and the in¬ 
evitability of their own ancestral indigence. They had begun to feel 
dimly that they too had a right to share in those amenities of Civiliza¬ 
tion which in the past had been the monopoly of a small minority in 
India as elsewhere, and at the same time to imagine vaguely that the 
magic cornucopia of Science could perform, ‘in real life’, the legendary 
miracle of the loaves and fishes, if only a ruling minority chose to use it 
for this beneficent purpose. 

At the same time an Indian peasantry that was beginning to dream 
these dreams had been doing its worst to prevent their realization by 
continuing, as in the past, to breed heedlessly up to the limits of sub¬ 
sistence on a meagre customary standard of living, with the result that 
the addition to India’s food supply which had been wrung out of a 
previously unutilized margin of resources by British administrative 
enterprise had mainly gone, not towards improving the Indian peasant’s 
individual lot, but towards increasing the peasantry’s numbers. Under 
British rule the population of India had risen from about 206,000,000 
in a.d. 1872 to 338,119,154 in a.d. 1931 and 388,997,955 in a.d. 1941; 
at the time of the transfer of power from English to Indian hands, this 
human flood was still rising; and by the same date the possibilities of 
increasing India’s capacity to contain a mounting volume of inhabitants 
had been to a large extent used up. How were the Hindu successors of the 
British to handle a political legacy which already allowed no margin at 
all for incompetence or folly in the administration of the stewardship 
which they had now taken over ? 

The traditional cure for ‘over-population’, not only in the Hindu 
World but in the economy of other civilizations too in a pre-democratic 
age, was to allow famine, pestilence, civil disorder, and war to reduce the 
population again to a figure at which the survivors would once more find 
themselves able to lead their traditional life on their customary low 
standard; and horrifying instances of drastic reductions of population 

1 Sec Bergson, H.: La Deux Sources de la Morale el de La Religion (Paris 1932, 
Alcan), pp. 304-5, quoted in this Study in I. i. 9 and IV. iv. 156. 



THE MODERN WEST AND THE HINDUS 2x5 

by methods of barbarism were indeed on record. For example, the 
population of ‘Iraq, after having been built up by perhaps more than 
three thousand years of careful husbandry, had been cut down again by 
the last two Romano-Persian wars and thereafter by the Mongol in¬ 
vasion; 1 North-West Africa, whose scientific cultivation the Carthagin¬ 
ians had begun, the Romans had completed, and the Primitive Muslim 
Arabs had spared, had eventually been devastated by the barbarian Arab 
Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym; 1 and the population of China had been 
reduced, if the official census figures were to be believed, from 9,069,154 
to 2,900,000 families within the short term of ten years ( a . d . 754-64) by 
the destructive effects of An Lu Shan’s rebellion against the T'ang 
regime. 3 In the latest chapter of Indian history before the transfer of 
power, Mahatma Gandhi, in his single-minded quest of independence 
for an India struggling to be free, had willed for her the same Malthusian 
end, without willing the necessary barbaric means. 

Gandhi had divined that the achievement of mere political liberation 
from British rule might be an illusory emancipation if India still re¬ 
mained entangled in the economic tendrils of a Westernized World; and 
he unerringly laid his axe to this economic banyan tree’s technological 
root in launching his campaign for the abandonment of the use of 
machine-made cotton goods by the people of India in favour of home- 
spun; but his countrymen’s unwillingness to follow his lead on this 
crucial point was a sign of the times, 4 for it brought into prominence the 
fact that by this date India was implicated economically in the life of 
the Western World no longer merely as a purchaser from abroad of the 
products of a Western mechanized industry, but now also by the far 
more compromising bond of having learnt to manufacture such products 
for herself with Indian hands that had mastered a Western technique. 
Moreover, even if Gandhi had succeeded in putting out of business the 
Hindu textile manufacturers of Ahmadabad and Bombay, the effect 
would have been to precipitate in India an economic, social, and political 
crisis which could never have been left for Nature to solve in her own 
brutal way by cither a British civil service or by its Western-educated 
Hindu successors. 

If and when this still undischarged but also still unexorcized storm- 
cloud on a politically free India’s horizon did burst in a tornado-blast, 
the Hindu statesmen responsible for the government of India in that 
day would be constrained by the moral atmosphere of a Westernizing 
World to strive for some relatively humane and constructive solution. 
They would find themselves confronted with an Indian peasantry that 
had caught just enough of the Modern Western spirit to be unwilling 
this time to acquiesce tamely in a peasantry’s traditional tribulations; 
they would have to reckon with an oecumenical public conscience 5 

X Sec IV. iv. 42 - 43 - * Sec III. iii. 322-4, 445 - 6 , and 473 ~ 4 . “*»d V. v. 247. 

* See Fitzgerald, C. P.: China, A Short Cultural History (London 1935, Cresset 
Press), p. 308. 4 Sec III. iii. 190-1. and 202-4. 

s This conscience had proclaimed a conviction of responsibility for being the keeper 
of the vast peasant majority of Mankind when, at the dose of the general war of a.d. 
1939-45, the authorities of the victorious United Nations had taken account of the whole 
population of the World, including the rice-eating as well as the wheat-eating peoples, 
in administering the distribution of the then available food supplies. 



216 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
which no parochial government could any longer afford to ignore; and, 
most compelling influence of all, the voice of this conscience would also 
be speaking to them from within their own partially Westernized souls. 

For these reasons it could be prophesied with some confidence that 
the Western-minded statesmen of a Hindu Raj would have to grapple 
one day with the problem of a depressed Indian peasantry. It could not, 
however, be taken for granted that they would find themselves able to 
solve this inexorable problem by Modern Western political methods; 
and, should a Western panacea prove to be of no avail in a crisis which, 
for India, would be one of life and death, a rival Russian panacea would 
inevitably force its way on to India’s national agenda; for a Communist 
Russia, like a Westernizing India, had inherited the problem of a de¬ 
pressed peasantry from her native cultural past, and, unlike India, she 
had already responded to this challenge on lines that she had worked out 
for herself. These Communist lines might be too ruthless and too revolu¬ 
tionary for either the Indian peasantry or the Indian intelligentsia to be 
able to follow them with any zest; but, as an alternative to the still 
grimmer fate of decimation, a Communist solution of the peasantry 
problem might demand consideration, faute de mieux, and this might 
bring a politically emancipated India face to face with the ideology of a 
Soviet Union with whom India—unlike China and the Islamic World 
and Eastern Europe—was not, or at any rate not yet, in immediate 
geographical contact. 1 

4. The Modern West and the Islamic World 
The Encirclement of the Islamic World by the West, Russia, and Tibet 

At the opening of the modern chapter of Western history, two sister 
Islamic societies, standing back to back, blocked all the overland lines of 
access from the contemporary domains of the Western and the Russian 
Society to other parts of the Old World. 

Though the Arabic Muslim Civilization had not inherited the 
Atlantic seaboard of the Andalusian Umayyad Caliphate in the Iberian 
Peninsula, at the close of the fifteenth century it was still holding an 
Atlantic seaboard in Africa extending from the Straits of Gibraltar to 
the Senegal. Western Christendom thus still remained insulated from 
Tropical Africa overland, while waves of Arab influence were breaking 
upon the Dark Continent not only along its north coast in the Sudan out 
of the dry sea of the Sahara, but also along its east coast, the S 5 hil, out 
of the Indian Ocean. 1 That ocean had indeed become an Arab lake, to 


1 The bearing of Russia’s Communist solution of the problem of a depressed peasan- 
y on the destinies of alt the non-Russian societies, including India, that were likewise 


The possibility that the Soviet Union and India might eventually b’ccomc immediate 
neighbours as a consequence of the partition of British India between the Indian Union 
ana Pakistan is discussed on pp. 690-1, below. 

1 One wave of Arab influence also broke—to the eventual undoing of the Arabs 
themselves—upon another then still-dark continent lying not to the south but to the 
north of the Arabic Muslim World. The lateen sail (sec Perry, J. H.: Europe and a 
Wider World (London 1949, Hutchinson), pp. 22-24) and the art of navigating the high 
seas by taking astronomical bearings (see Prestage, E.: The Portuguese Pioneers (London 
1938, Black), p. 315) were both conveyed by Arab hands from the Indian Ocean, where 


THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 217 
which the Venetian trading partners of the Egyptian middlemen had no 
access, while Arab shipping was not only plying up and down the Indian 
Ocean’s African shore from Suez to Sofala, but had also found its way 
across to Indonesia, captured the archipelago from Hinduism for Islam, 
and pushed on eastwards to plant an outpost in the Western Pacific by 
converting the pagan Malay inhabitants of the southernmost of the 
Philippines—whom the Spanish ocean-going mariners duly recognized 
as ‘Moors' when they came upon them in the sixteenth century in a cir¬ 
cumnavigation of the globe from east to west. 

At the close of the fifteenth century the Iranic Muslim Civilization 
held what seemed to be an even stronger strategic position vis-a-vis both 
Western Christendom and Russia. The ‘Osmanli empire-builders’ pro¬ 
gramme of bringing the whole of the main body of Orthodox Christen¬ 
dom under Iranic Muslim rule had been duly completed by Sultan 
Mehmed II Fatih (imperabat a . d . 1451-81) through the conquest of 
Constantinople, the Morea, Q 3 ram 3 n, and Trcbizond. The same reign 
had seen the Black Sea turned into an Ottoman Lake in a . d . 1475 
through the seizure of the Genoese colonies Caffa and Tana in the 
Crimea 1 and the establishment of Ottoman suzerainty over a Crimean 
Tatar successor-state of Chingis Khan’s son Juji’s Mongol horde, 
whose sedentary subjects in the peninsula and nomad subjects in the 
Great Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe were the ‘Osmanlis’ fellow 
Muslims and fellow Turks. Adjoining the Khanate of the Crimea on the 
east, the sister Khanate of AstrakhSn commanded the mouth of the 
Volga, while the Khanate of Q 3 zan, whose likewise Turkish-speaking 
Muslim inhabitants had once been known as ‘the White Bulgars’, com¬ 
manded the confluence of the Volga with the Kama and thereby 
blocked the way from Muscovy both down the Volga and across the 
southern Urals. Behind this front extending from the Qazanlys' western 
frontier on the Volga to the ‘Osmanlis’ western frontier on the Adriatic, 
the Iranic Muslim World extended south-eastwards over Bashkiristan 
and Qazaqistan and the Tarim Basin to the north-western Chinese 
provinces of Kansu and Shensi, and over Iran and Hindustan to Bengal 
and the Deccan. 

This massive Islamic road-block was a challenge which evoked a 
proportionately energetic response from pioneer communities in the 
two blockaded Christian societies. 

In Western Christendom the peoples of the Atlantic seaboard in¬ 
vented in the fifteenth century a new type of ocean-going sailing-ship, 
three-masted and square-rigged, with a sprinkling first of lateen and 
later of fore-and-aft sails, which was capable of keeping the sea for 
months on end without putting into port and which earned, by its 
unprecedented performance, the distinction of being known as ‘the 
ship’ par excellence for the next three and a half centuries. 2 In such 

they had been invented, to the maritime peoples on the Mediterranean and Atlantic 
seaboards of Western Chriatendom. 1 Sec II. »• 445 - 

a This sudden swift advance in the arts of ship-building and navigation in Western 
Christendom in the fifteenth century, and the period of relative stagnation that followed 
until the nineteenth century brought another sudden swift advance, are reviewed in 
XI. ix. 364-74. 



218 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
vessels, Portuguese mariners, who had made their trial runs in deep-sea 
navigation by discovering Madeira circa a.d. 1420 and the Azores in a.d. 
1432, succeeded in outflanking the Arab seafront on the Atlantic by 
rounding Cape Verde in a.d. X445, reaching the Equator in a.d. 1471, 
rounding the Cape of Good Hope in a.d. 1487-8, landing at Calicut, on 
the west coast of India, in a.d. 1498, seizing command of the Straits of 
Malacca in a.d. 1511, and pushing on into the Western Pacific to show 
their flag at Canton in a.d. 1516 and on the coast of Japan in a.d. 1542-3.' 
In a flash the Portuguese had snatched out of Arab hands the thalasso- 
cracy of the Indian Ocean; and, though the Portuguese afterwards lost 
all but a remnant of their naval and commercial empire in the East to 
Dutch, English, and French Western rivals of theirs, the Arabs were 
never able to win their lost thalassocracy back. 2 The blockade of Western 
Christendom by an Arabic World that had outflanked it overland in 
Africa had not only been broken; it had been inverted into a maritime 
blockade of the Arabic World by Western Christendom through the 
Westerners’ newly acquired command of a ubiquitous Ocean. 1 

While these eastward-faring Portuguese pioneers in a sudden over¬ 
seas expansion of the Western World were thus outflanking an Arabic 
Muslim World on the south, eastward-faring Cossack river-boatmen 
were as suddenly and sweepingly extending the borders of the Russian 
World by outflanking an Iranic Muslim World on the north. The way 
was opened for them by the Muscovite Tsar Ivan IV when he conquered 
Qazan in a.d. 1552; for Qazan had been the Iranic World’s north¬ 
eastern bastion, and after its fall there was no obstacle except forest and 
frost, which were the Nomad-fighting Cossacks’ familiar allies, to 
prevent these pioneers of a Russian Orthodox Christendom from passing 
the Urals and rapidly working their way eastwards along the Siberian 
waterways until they were brought to a halt by stumbling in a.d. 1638 4 
on the Pacific Ocean and then, on the 24th March, 1652, on the north¬ 
eastern marches of the Manchu Empirc. s In reaching these new frontiers 
an expanding Russian World had outflanked not only the Iranic Muslim 
World but the whole of the Eurasian Steppe 6 —a waterless inland sea 
which Timur Lenk had neglected to turn into an Iranic ‘lake’ when the 
opportunity for extending his empire round all its coasts had presented 
itself to him in the fourteenth century. 7 The Iranic World now had to 
pay the penalty for Timur’s lack of vision. Before Timur’s day a nascent 
Iranic Muslim Civilization had succeeded in capturing the Turkish¬ 
speaking western half of a latter-day Eurasian Nomad World through 

* Sec p. 313, n. 2, below. 

* The one successful counter-stroke which the Arabs did achieve against the Portu¬ 
guese in their decline was their ejection of this first wave of Western intruders not only 
from Maskat [circa a.d. 1648) and from the rest of ‘Uman, but also from the cast coast 
of Africa, as far south as Zanzibar inclusive, in the course of the seventeenth and eigh¬ 
teenth centuries of the Christian Era; but this was only an ephemeral Arab recovery in 
the interval between two waves of Western expansion. In the nineteenth century the 
Westerners easily defeated the Arabs in the competition between them for the opening 
up of the interior of the African continent. 

a See VII. vii, $35 and XII. ix. 460-70- 4 Sec II. ii. 157 and V. v. 206-7. 

s See Ravenstein, E. G.: The Russians on the Amur (London 1861, TrQbner), p. 21. 

6 The Cossacks’ emulation of the exploits of the Portuguese has been noticed in III. 
iii. 19; IV. iv. 497 - 8 ; and V. v. 315-16. 7 See IV. iv. 491-501. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 219 

the conversion of the three western appanages of the Mongol Empire to 
the Sunni form of Islam ;* and, on the eve of the Russian conquest of 
Western Siberia, this victory of the Iranic Civilization in this quarter had 
been rounded off by the conversion of the Khanate of Sibir; but the 
Iranic Civilization never went on to capture the Mongol-speaking 
eastern half of Eurasia on the farther side of the Zungarian Gap; and in 
a.d. 1576-7 the Mongols—followed by the Calmucks circa a.d. 1620— 
abandoned a primitive paganism, not, like their western cousins, for 
Islam, but for the Tantric Mahayanian form of Buddhism which had 
been preserved in a Tibetan fastness by a fossil of an extinct Indie 
Civilization. 1 

Thus, in the course of little more than a century reckoning from the 
date of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror’s death in a.d. 
1481, an Islamic World into which the Iranic and Arabic societies had 
coalesced since the conquest of Syria and Egypt by Sultan Selim I in 
a.d. 1516-17 3 had been not only outflanked on two sides but completely 
encircled by the pioneering enterprise of Portuguese sailors, Cossack 
backwoodsmen, and Lama missionaries. By the turn of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries the noose was round the victim’s neck; and, 
what was more, he had by then already been foiled in divers attempts to 
break out of the toils. This failure was a signal one in view of his posses¬ 
sion of the interior lines (the one advantage that had not only been left 
to him, but had been weighted still more heavily in his favour by his 
opponents’ far-flung encircling operations); and he was now inexorably 
condemned to die by strangulation whenever an alien executioner might 
choose to draw the fatal bow-string tight. Yet the suddenness with which 
the Islamic World had been caught in this potential stranglehold was 
not so extraordinary as the length of the time that was still to elapse 
before either the Muslims’ adversaries or the Muslims themselves were 
to become sufficiently alive to the situation to be moved to take action— 
on the Western and the Russian side, action to pounce upon an appar¬ 
ently helpless prey, and, on the Muslim side, action to escape from 
apparently desperate straits. 

The Postponement of the Crisis 

The Islamic World’s Western and Russian adversaries were slow to 
close in upon their quarry, even when they seemed to have it at their 
mercy; and, when they did venture, their timidity and procrastination 
were justified in the event by a succession of discouraging military 
experiences. In the Ottoman recoil from the disastrous outcome of the 
second Ottoman siege of Vienna in a.d. 1682-3, which marked the 
visible turn of the tide in the warfare between the Islamic World and 
the West on a Danubian front, the Hapsburg counter-offensive was 
repelled in a.d. 1689 and again in a.d. 1738-9—this second time, 
definitively. When the Venetians took the opportunity of the Ottoman 

x These were jQji’s portion on the steppe between the Altai and the Carpathians; 
Chaghauy’s portion astride the Zungarian Gap; and Huligu’s portion in Iran and 
'Iraq. 

* See III. iii. 4*1; IV. iv. 497; V. v. 137 and 309-10. 

3 See I. i. 387-8, and xi, maps 50 and ji. 



220 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Power’s momentary collapse to conquer the Morea in and after a.d. 
1684, they were made to pay for their temerity by losing in a.d. 1715 
not only this ephemeral acquisition but their ancient possession the 
Island of Tinos into the bargain. Peter the Great took the same opportu¬ 
nity to capture the fortress-port of Azov in a.d. 1696; but, when he was 
emboldened by this success to invade Moldavia in a.d. 1711, at a moment 
when he had relieved himself of pressure from Sweden by his sensational 
victor)- over Charles XII at Poltava in a.d. 1709, he had to surrender the 
precious maritime outlet that he had won for Russia in an inner recess 
of an inland sea that was still a Turkish lake, as the price of being allowed 
to escape annihilation in Moldavia at the hands of an Ottoman army 
that had caught the rash invader in its grip. The first Muslim populations 
of any appreciable size to pass under Western rule were those in Java, 
which the Dutch acquired in a.d. 1600-84, 1 ant * Bengal, which the 
British acquired in a.d. 1757-60; but these were two outlying enclaves 
on the Islamic World’s extreme south-eastern edge; and, when the 
British, after having conquered all the rest of India east of the Indus 
Valley, proceeded in a.d. 1838 to trench on the core of Dar-al-Islam by 
invading Afghanistan, they suffered a disaster there which took the 
Western aggressors aback and changed the course of history. 

In a.d. 1952 the greater part of this core, from Afghanistan to Egypt 
and from Turkey to the Yaman, was free from alien political rule or even 
control. By that date Egypt, Jordan, the Lebanon, Syria, and ’Iraq had 
all rc-cmcrgcd from beneath the flood of British and French imperialism 
which had submerged them successively in a.d. 1882 and in the course 
of the General War of a.d. 1914-18, and the residual threat to the inte¬ 
grity and independence of the heart of the Arabic World was now com¬ 
ing, not from the Western Powers, but from the Zionists. The homeland 
of the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia had likewise emerged intact from an 
attempt to carve a Greek empire out of it in a.d. 1919-22. In a.d. 1952 
the two principal exceptions to the freedom from alien rule which was 
being enjoyed for the most part by the core of Dar-al-Isl 5 m were the 
Far West of the Arabic Muslim World in North-West Africa, which had 
fallen into the hands of France, and the Far East of the Iranic Muslim 
World in the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin, which had fallen into the hands of 
Russia. Elsewhere, D 5 r-al-Islam had merely been shorn of outlying 
fringes in India, Indonesia, and Rumclia and of imperfectly reclaimed 
hinterlands—such as the Great Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe and 
its adjuncts the Crimea and the Caucasus, which Russia had acquired 
since a.d. 1774, and the interior of Tropical Africa, which the West 
European Powers had partitioned among themselves since a.d. iSSo. 1 
The slowness of the Modern Western World’s advance at the Islamic 
World’s expense can be measured by its history in the Maghrib. 

In the past, this Mediterranean island, cut off, as it was, from both the 

1 By A.D. 1684 the Dutch had become masters of Western Java ar.d paramount in the 
rest of the island; but it was not till a.d. 1830 that the whole of Java was brought under 
effective Dutch rule. 

J A possible relation of cause and effect between the success of the Islamic World in 
preserving its independence in the nineteenth century of the Christian Era and the ill 
success of the contemporary Panislamic Movement is discussed on pp. 692-5, below. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 22 i 
Nile Valley and the Western Sudan by the dry sea of the Sahara, had 
been apt to experience the same fortunes as the Iberian Peninsula and 
Sicily, with which it was in closer touch across the waters of the Western 
Mediterranean; and, when, at the dawn of a Modern Age of Western 
history, the union of Aragon with Castile in a.d. 1479 was followed by 
the Spanish conquest of Granada in a.d. 1492 and by the rounding off of 
the Aragonese insular empire in Sardinia and Sicily through the Spanish 
conquest of Naples in a.d. 1503, it might have been expected that the 
North-West African countries opening on to the Mediterranean would 
now fall to Spain, and the Atlantic coast of Morocco to Portugal. The 
Portuguese had, indeed, begun to carve out a transmarine Algarve on 
the Moroccan side of the Straits of Gibraltar in a.d. 1415-71, and the 
Spaniards followed suit by holding Tripoli from a.d. 1510 to a.d. 1551 
and imposing their suzerainty on the Hafsid princes of Tunisia from 
a.d. 1535 10 A - D - I 574 ! but these prizes were snatched by the ‘Osmanlis 
out of the Spaniards’ hands after the Ottoman corsair Uruj Barbarossa 
of Lesbos’ had audaciously driven a wedge between the Spaniards and 
the Portuguese by establishing himself in Algeria in a.d. 1516-18.* All 
that eventually remained of this abortive Spanish empire in the Maghrib 
was a tenuous chain of presidios clinging to peninsulas and islets along 
the rocky shore of the Moroccan Rif; and the incipient Portuguese 
empire along the Atlantic coast was excised by the Moroccans single- 
handed, without Ottoman aid. When King Sebastian of Portugal set out 
to complete the Portuguese conquest of Morocco in a.d. 1578, the royal 
invader and his army paid for their aggression with their lives, and 
Portugal with the loss of her independence for sixty years. 1 

Thereafter, until after the opening of the nineteenth century of the 
Christian Era, the Barbary Corsairs—unconquered by the Franks and 
unamenable to the Porte—preyed on the shipping of all Western 
Christian maritime Powers whose governments did not submit to paying 
them an annual tribute. It was not till a.d. 1803-5 that the Tripolitanians 
were chastised by the United States, and not till a.d. 28x6 that an inter¬ 
national squadron commanded by Lord Exmouth made it clear to the 
rulers of all the Barbary States that their piracy would no longer be 
tolerated by Western Christian Powers who now at last had their hands 
free from the Napoleonic Wars. The definitive Western Christian con¬ 
quest of the Far West of the Islamic World did not begin till the French 
landed at Algiers in a.d. 1830 to find there for France a substitute for 
the empire which she had not succeeded in imposing on Europe; and 
104 years were to elapse between this first French landing on the North- 
West African coast and the submission to France of the last unsubdued 
tribes in the Atlas in a.d. 1934. A spectator of the Spanish landing at 
Goletta in a.d. 1535 who had supposed himself to be witnessing the 
political annexation of the Maghrib to Western Christendom would have 
been just four hundred years out of his reckoning. 

' It is perhsps not fanciful to suggest that Barbarossa’a prowess at sea was an in¬ 
heritance from the age-old Greek inhabitants and medieval Italian masters of his native 
island. 

* See I. i. 348; p. 104 - 5 . above; X. ix. 37-38. 

1 Portugal was engulfed in the Spanish Monarchy from A.D. 1581 to A.D. 1640. 



222 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

Why had both the West and Russia been so slow in taking the offen¬ 
sive against an hereditary enemy at their gates ? And why, after they had 
at last tasted blood, had they not managed to devour more than the 
extremities of this Tityos’s carcase? In a list of reasons for the Islamic 
World’s rather surprising reprieve we may include the initial sclf-confi- 
dcncc with which the Muslims had been inspired by the memory of 
extraordinary previous achievements; the subsequent tactical victories 
that masked their strategical defeat in their attempts to break out of the 
toils of Western and Russian encirclement; the long-lasting effect of 
these impressive Muslim successes in inducing the Westerners to take the 
Muslims at their own valuation; the leading Modern Western peoples’ 
loss of interest in the Mediterranean for some three hundred years after 
their conquest of the Ocean towards the close of the fifteenth century; 
and the mutual frustration of the rival competitors for the spoils of the 
Islamic World after the Western Powers and Russia had at last become 
aware that the once formidable titan now lay at their mercy. 

The Muslims’ initial self-confidence was indeed well-founded; for 
both the sister Islamic societies had done mighty deeds in their infancy. 
In the thirteenth century of the Christian Era the Arabic Muslim 
Society had performed in real life the infant H6rakles’ legendary feat of 
strangling, each with a single hand, the two snakes sent by his pcrsccu- 
tress Hera to devour the babe in his cradle. This Herculean prowess 
had been displayed by the Arabic Muslim Society in saving itself from 
the peril of being overwhelmed by a hostile combination between two 
formidable Christian aggressors when in a.d. 1260 the Far Eastern 
Christians, with the united forces of a Eurasian Nomadism at their 
back, had pushed across the Euphrates into Syria as far as Damascus, 
while the Western Christian Crusaders were still holding a bridgehead 
on the Syrian coast no farther away than Acre. 1 This thirteenth-century 
Arabic Muslim prodigy of self-preservation was matched in the four¬ 
teenth and fifteenth centuries by the Iranic Muslim Society’s not less 
remarkable aggressive feat of conquering the main body of Orthodox 
Christendom. With these achievements to their credit, the Muslims 
took it for granted that they were invincible; and their consequent 
moral and prestige long continued to compensate for their increasing 
technological inferiority to their Modern Western and Westernizing 
adversaries. 

This prestige and moral were buoyed up by the Muslims’ subsequent 
tactical victories in their strategically unsuccessful attempts to break out 
of a ring that had been run round them by their Christian neighbours; 1 
for the superficial successes immediately made their mark, while the 
underlying failures long escaped notice. 

In the Mediterranean, for example, the ‘Osmanlis’ sixteenth-century 

1 See II. ii. 238 and 451. and p. 255, below. 

1 The history of the Islamic World's long-drawn-out struggle with the Western 
Powers and Russia from the sixteenth century onwards had much in common with the 
history of Germany’s struggle with the same adversaries in the first and second world 
wars; and indeed in the First World War Germany and Turkey were in the same camp. 
The Muslims, like the Germans, won battle after battle without being able to save them¬ 
selves by these victories from eventually losing the war. 


THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 223 
success in defeating Spain’s attempt to gain possession of the Maghrib,' 
and the Barbary Corsairs’ subsequent thalassocracy in the Mediterranean 
on sufferance from Western maritime Powers prc-occupicd with Oceanic 
enterprises, obscured the ‘Osmanlis’ far more significant failure to break 
through to the coast of the Atlantic and compete with the Western 
Christian Powers for possession of the Americas. 1 The ‘Osmanlis’ 
capture of Rhodes from the Knights of Saint John in a.d. 1522 was 
likewise more sensational, though less significant, than their subsequent 
inability to expel the Knights from their new naval base on the Island of 
Malta. 

The ‘Osmanlis did break through to the Indian Ocean after their 
conquest of Egypt in a.d. 1517; and their subsequent defeats by the 
Portuguese off Diu in a.d. 1538 3 and in Abyssinia in a.d. 1542-3 4 were 
more momentous than either their victory in the same year a.d. 1538 
off Preveza or their reverse in a.d. 1571 at Lepanto in an unprofitable 
struggle with the Mediterranean Western maritime Powers for the 
command of a land-locked sea whose narrow outlet into the Atlantic was 
out of the ‘Osmanlis’ reach. If, instead of having to submit to being 
bottled up in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf as tightly as in the 
Mediterranean, Ottoman sea-power had been able to retrieve the recent 
failure of Egyptian sea-power to sweep the Indian Ocean clear of the 
Portuguese intruders, the ‘Osmanlis might have become the heirs of the 
Indian Muslim princes of Gujerat and have anticipated the descendants 
of their ancient enemy Timur Lcnk in becoming the Turkish Muslim 
founders of an Indian universal state. This historic Ottoman failure in 
the Indian Ocean attracted less attention, however, than either the sub¬ 
sequent feats of other Muslim Powers on the Indian mainland 5 or the 
‘Osmanlis’ own antecedent feat of swallowing up an Egyptian Mamluk 
Empire which had been the leading Power in the Arabic World for a 
quarter of a millennium. 

This amalgamation of the Mamluk with the Ottoman Empire was 
indeed a conspicuous alteration of the political map. Yet the ‘Osmanlis’ 
acquisition of the Egyptian portage between the Mediterranean and the 
Red Sea, which gave them the strategic advantage of holding the interior 
lines in a contest in the Indian Ocean with the Portuguese circumnavi¬ 
gators of Africa, proved barren after all when the ‘Osmanlis failed 
nevertheless to wrest the command of the Indian Ocean out of Portu¬ 
guese hands. Nor did the concentration of Islamic forces through the 
union of Egypt and other Arabic countries with the Ottoman Empire in 
the sixteenth century make up for the fatal disruption of the Iranic 
World, at the beginning of the same century, through the sudden rise of 
a militantly anti-Ottoman Safawl Shi'ite Power in the Iranic World’s 
heart. 6 In the ensuing struggle in the Indian Ocean between the 


See p. 22 x, above. 
See II. ii. 


1 bee II. u. 444-5- 

. 445. 4 See II. ii. 365-6 and 445. 

* In a.d. 1565 the Muslim conquest of the Indian sub-continent was completed by 
the Dcccancse Muslim Powers’ feat of overthrowing and partitioning the Hindu Empire 
of Vijayanagar (see V. v. 515, with n. 1). In a.d. 1572 the Muslim power in India was 
concentrated into an oecumenical r 5 j through the Timurid Mughal pnnee Akbar s 
conquest of Gujcrit in that year. 6 See I. i. 366-88. 


224 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
‘Osmanlis and the Portuguese, the Portuguese partly owed their victory 
to a schism in the Iranic Muslim camp which enabled the Portuguese 
to win the ‘Osmanlis’ Safawl enemies for their allies instead of finding 
themselves confronted with a united Iranic World. 

On the Danubian front, likewise, the ‘Osmanlis’ strategic reverse in 
a.d. 1529, when they failed to capture Vienna and thereby failed to 
crack the still tender carapace of a new-born Danubian Hapsburg 
Monarchy, 1 was eclipsed in the eyes of contemporaries by the preceding 
overthrow of Hungary in a.d. 1526 in the last round of a Hungaro- 
Ottoman Hundred Years’ War. Contemporary Western observers 
shuddered to sec a Western Christian kingdom go the way of its Ortho¬ 
dox Christian neighbours. Yet the carving of a new pashalyq of Buda 
out of Western Christendom’s south-eastern flank, which was all that 
the Ottoman Empire eventually gained from the Battle of Mohacz, was 
a trifling advantage by comparison with the adverse effect of the other 
consequences of this battle on Ottoman prospects of farther expansion 
in this quarter. The severity of the disaster that had overtaken Hungary 
stimulated the Western World to provide itself with a Danubian Haps¬ 
burg carapace which, in the next chapter of the story, proved strong 
enough, in the two ordeals of a.d. 1529 and a.d. 1682-3, to resist the 
heaviest blows that Ottoman armies could deliver at this distance from 
their base of operations. 

Vienna, like Tabriz, was just too far beyond the ‘Osmanlis’ effective 
range to go the way of Buda and Erzinjan; and it was noteworthy how 
small a quota of the Western World’s total energies had to be mobilized 
in order to hold the ‘Osmanlis at bay in the Burgenland. The personal 
union, under the House of Hapsburg, of an unconquered remnant of 
the territories of the Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen with the terri¬ 
tories of the Bohemian Crown and with the Hapsburgs’ own hereditary 
possessions in south-eastern Germany sufficed to bring the ‘Osmanlis 
to a halt on the eastern glacis of Vienna; 2 and the West European 
countries proved able with impunity to ignore the Ottoman peril while 
they were harvesting the opportunities which their conquest of the 
Ocean had brought within their grasp, and were contending with one 
another for possession of these trans-occanic spoils. 

The political schism between the Hapsburg Power and France and 
religious schism between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, which 
rent Western Christendom in the sixteenth century, were proportionately 
no less devastating than the contemporary breach in the Iranic Muslim 
World between a Sunni Ottoman and a Shi'ite Safawl Power; and a 
sixteenth-century France might have been as valuable an ally for the 
Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean as a sixteenth-century Safawl 
Empire was for Portugal in the Indian Ocean. The French Mediter¬ 
ranean naval port of Toulon did harbour an Ottoman fleet in the winter 
of a.d. 1543-4; yet Toulon never became an Ottoman counterpart of 
the Portuguese base at Ormuz; and in the Mediterranean, as on the 
Danube, the Hapsburg Power managed to keep the 'Osmanlis in check 
notwithstanding the diversions made by its Western Christian rivals in 
• See II. ii. 179 and V. v. 325. » See II. ii. 179. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 225 

its rear. This ability of the Modem Western World to fight off with one 
hand the Islamic World’s efforts to break out, while the members of the 
Western body politic were warring all the time with one another, gives 
the true measure of the Western World’s superiority over the Islamic 
World in strength even in an age in which the Ottoman Power stood at 
its zenith. 

The least noticed, but not least signal, of all these sixteenth-century 
Ottoman strategic reverses was a failure to undo a master-move in a 
Russian encircling movement. The year a.d. 1569' witnessed the dis¬ 
comfiture of an Ottoman expeditionary force which had been sent via 
the Crimea to break a recently acquired Muscovite hold on the line of 
the Lower Volga 2 and to bring this vital waterway within the Ottoman 
Empire’s reach by digging a canal from the nearest point on the Don to 
connect the Volga with the Black Sea. This abortive Ottoman thrust into 
the Eurasian Steppe was an attempt to reverse a previous change in the 

S olitical map which had been to the ‘Osmanlis’ serious disadvantage. 

ince the opening of the sixteenth century of the Christian Era the 
'Osmanlis had suddenly and unexpectedly been cut off from access 
overland, both south and north of the Caspian, to their Sunni co¬ 
religionists in Central Asia and India. South of the Caspian, the road had 
been blocked by the establishment of a Safawl Empire extending from 
the Caspian to the Persian Gulf; north of the Caspian, it had been 
blocked by two successive Russian forward moves. 3 The year a.d. 1502 
saw the eviction of the last of the epigoni of Chingis Khan’s son Juji 
from the saray (Russict Tsaritzyn) on the bank of the Middle Volga. 4 
Thereafter, in a.d. i 552-4, the Muscovites had conquered not only this 
Mongol horde’s successor-state of Qazan, commanding the confluence 
of the Volga with the Kama, 5 but also its successor-state of Astrakhan, 
commanding the Volga’s mouth. If the 'Osmanlis had succeeded in 
ejecting the Muscovites from the line of the Lower Volga in a.d. 1569, 
they would have cleared for themselves a path over the Eurasian Steppe 
north of the Caspian along which they could have joined hands with 
their Uzbeg Turkish co-religionists who had recently conquered the 
Oxus-Jaxartcs Basin from the Timurids, 6 and with the Khans of Sibir, 

1 Sec Inalcik, H.: The Origin of the Olto’itan-Russian Rivalry and the Don-Volga Canal 
(X569) (Ankara 1948, Tdrk Tarih Kurunui Basimevi), and the present Study, I. i. 374, 
n. 2, and II. ii. 44s. 

* In the General War of a.d. 1939-45, the line of the Lower Volga was the scene of 
one of the decisive battles of history (eommissum 22 Nov. 1942-2 Feb. 1943). The out¬ 
come of the military operations in the ssme theatre in A.D. 1560, which was perhaps of 
equal importance, was consummated without any direct clash of arms between the 
Russian forces and the alien invader. In a.d. 1569 the Grand Vizier Mchmcd SbkflllO’s 
grand design of reopening the severed communications between the Ottoman Empire 
and the Sunni Muslim Turkish states of Central Asia by opening up a Don-Volga inland 
waterway between the Black Sea and the Caspian was frustrated, without any need for 
military intervention on Muscovy’s part, by the ill will and bad faith of the Khan of the 
Crimea and by the insubordination of the Janissaries, whose Rumelian souls revolted 


against a prospect of having to pass the winter in a clime that was far bleaker than an 
Azerbaijanian Qarabfigh (see I. i. 386). _ 1 See I. i. 398. 

* Sadly stood on the left bank of the Volga, in the an$le of its westward bend adjoining 
the eastward bend of the Don. On the opposite bank in a.d. 1556 the Russians built a 
fort called Tsaritzyn which became famous in A.D. 1942-3 under the name of Stalingrad. 

s See p. 217, above. 

6 See I. i. 371-5. Requests received by the Porte from the Khans of Khiva (Khwi- 
rizm), Bukhara, and Samarqar.d for Ottoman action to reopen the pilgrimage route, via 

B 2 S 9 S.vui I 



226 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
whose horde on the Great Northern Bay of the Eurasian Steppe, in the 
Tobol Basin east of the Ural Mountains, was converted to Sunnism 1 
on the morrow of the 'Osmanlis’ abortive expedition to the Volga and on 
the eve of the Cossacks’ subsequent successful passage of the Urals. 

If, in a.d. 1569, the ‘Osmanlis had attained their military objective, 
three important political results would have followed. The Sunn! Muslim 
World, which had been split asunder by the eruption of Imami Shi'ism 
in Iran, would have been reunited along a corridor to the north of the 
Caspian; the resurgent Shi’i Power would have been encircled and pos¬ 
sibly crushed; and the threat to which the Islamic World’s north¬ 
eastern flank had been exposed by the Russian conquest of Qazan in 
a.d. 1552 would have been neutralized, since the Cossacks’ passage of 
the Urals in a.d. 1586 would have been forestalled by the erection of an 
effective Islamic barrier across the next stage of their eastward path. The 
Cossacks’ fire-arms would not have been able to make the short work 
that they did make of the Siberian Tatars’ resistance if the Tatar archers 
had been reinforced by Ottoman matchlock-men who could have fought 
the Cossacks on equal terms. 2 

In the event, the reverse suffered by the 'Osmanlis on the Don-Volga 
Steppe in a.d. i 569 not only left the way open for the Cossacks to pour 
over the Urals into Siberia; it gave the signal for them to perform, 
before the close of the sixteenth century, the more audacious feat of 
sealing the severance of the Great Western Bay of the Eurasian Steppe 
from its heartland east of the Caspian by bounding forward from the 
line of the Dniepr to the lines of the Don, the Terek, and the Yaik. 3 
This triple Cossack reinforcement of a Muscovite breakwater along the 
line of the Lower Volga that had held firm against the ‘Osmanlis created 
a system of defence in depth that was too strong to be breached by the 
Nomads. The last of all the eruptions of Eurasian Nomadism did sweep 
across the Yaik and the Volga in a.d. 1616; but it was halted at the line 
of the Don and never reached the line of the Dniepr; 4 and the Nomads 
who rode out on this forlorn hope were not Turkish-speaking proselytes 
of an Iranic Muslim Civilization but Mongol-speaking Calmuck neo¬ 
phytes of a Tantric Mahayanian Church which had survived as a fossil 
in a Tibetan fastness. 

It will be seen that the failure of the Ottoman attempt to break into 
the heart of the Eurasian Steppe in a.d. 1569 was fraught with the gravest 
consequences for the Islamic World; but the significance of this Ottoman 
reverse was obscured by the continuance, for at least 160 years thcrc- 

AstrakhSn, from Central Asia to Mecca, which the Russian occupation of Astrakhan had 
closed, appear to have weighed with the Porte in the taking of its decision to launch the 
adventurous expedition of a . d . 1569 (see Inalcik, op. cit., pp. 68 and 73). The Porte was 
sensitive to such appeals because its prestige in a Sunni Muslim World was bound up 
with ita title to the guardianship of the Two Holy Cities of the Hij 5 z, which it had taken 
over from the Mamlflk Sultan of Egypt when it had extinguished the MamlOk Power 
in A.D. 15x7. « See p. 219, above. 

2 A trial of strength in Western Siberia in the last quarter of the sixteenth century 
between 'Osmanlis and Muscovites, both cauippcd with fire-arms of Modem Western 
origin, would have been a counterpart of the similar contest that actually took place 
between Ottoman and Portuguese matchlock-men in Abyssinia in a.d. 1542-3 (we II. 
11. 36C-6 and 445 ). 

* Sec II. ii. 157 and V. v. 314-15. 


4 See V. v. 3x5. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 227 

after, of Crimean Tatar slave-raids into Muscovite territory. In a book 
published in a.d. 1668 an English observer, Sir Paul Rycaut, estimated 
that, at the time when he was making his observations, the average 
annual import of slaves from Krim Tatary to Constantinople was at 
least tw-enty-thousand head. 1 Russia continued to suffer from this 
scourge throughout the reign of Peter the Great, and an effective Russian 
limes in the Ukraine was not constructed till a.d. 1730-4, in the reign of 
the Empress Anna. 2 Though these slave-raids were of no military 
importance, 3 they sustained the illusion that the Ottoman Empire was 
on the offensive, and Muscovy on the defensive, for more than a century 
and a half after the roles had been reversed in fact. 

This mirage of an unimpaired Islamic military power long continued 
to bemuse, not only the Muslims themselves, but also their Western 
adversaries. The continuing prestige of the Islamic Civilization in 
Western eyes is attested by the continuance into the eighteenth century' 
of conversions to Islam among Western Christians who were neither 
victims of the Barbary slave-raiders nor prisoners of war, but were 
voluntary entrants into the Ottoman service. 4 The non-converted 
Western Christian employee of the Porte was a rare figure before the 
nineteenth century and cut a poor figure during the first half of it; s and, 

' Rycaut, Sir Paul: The Present State of the Ottoman Empire (London 1668, Starkey 
and Bromc), p. Sr, cited in III. iii. 35, n. 3. 

* Sec Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Ottoman Empire (Oxford 1949, Black- 
well), p. is, n. 3. 

1 For their social and religious importance sec the passage quoted from Rycaut’a 
book, loc. cit., in V. v. no. 

4 In Egypt in A.D. 1801, one of the commanders of the Ottoman forces cooperating 
with the British expeditionary force against the French was a renegade whose original 
name had been Campbell (Walsh, T.: Journal of the Late Campaign in Egypt (London 
1803, Cadell and Davies), p. 66). The sensational ‘conversion’ of the French general 
Menou to Islam during the French occupation of Egypt in A.D. 1798-1801 was almost 
certainly insincere. 

s The outstanding eighteenth-century representative of his kind was the French 
military officer Baron de Tott, who was employed by the Porte, during the Great Russo- 
Turkish War of a.d. 1768-74, to fortify the Dardanelles in the Western style of the day 
after a Russian fleet from the Baltic had confounded all Turkish notions of geography 

a appearing in the Mediterranean and destroying the Ottoman fleet in the Battle of 
tshme {commitmm 7 July, a.d. 1770). The allegation that dc Tott became a convert 
to Islam is denied by his English translator (Memoirs of the Baron de Tott on the Turks 
and the Tartars, translated from the French by an English gentleman at Paris under the 
immediate inspection of the Baron (London 178c, Jarvis, 2 vols.), vol. i,pp. xvii-xxiv): 

‘Mr. de Tott has stated to the translator the impracticability of the Turks receiving 
any essential permanent instructions from the Europeans, on this... principle, viz. that, 
the instant their instructor becomes a Mahometan, he is looked upon as a fellow subject 
and is reduced to a level with themselves, besides the contempt naturally attending a 
forced conversion; and, if he remains a Christian, he has insuperable obstacles to over¬ 
come, even with the unusual and improbable protection and firmness of 0 Sultan 
Mustapha. Amongst others, the famous Mr. dc Bonneval, whose history made so much 
noise at the beginning of this century, may be rated as an example of the truth of this 
observation. No Christian con ever be more respectably situated than Mr. de Tott; yet 
even his regulations produced only a momentary effect, and are already fallen into decay’ 
(ibid., pp. xx-xxi). 

The translator supports Baron de Tott’s contention by going on to report two anec¬ 
dotes related to him by the Baron himself. Incidentally the Baron testified ‘that he had 
never received a farthing from the Porte, nor any other appointment than that of his 
own Court’ (ibid., p. xxi). 

Sixty-five years or so later, the position of Frankish employees in the Ottoman service 
was still what it had been in de Tott’s day, on the testimony of the famous Prussian 
soldier Hclmuth von Moltke, who served an apprenticeship in the Ottoman Empire in 
the years a.d. 1835-1839 as a member of a Prussian military mission to the Porte. Von 
Moltke records that at this date the Ottoman high command could not venture to outrage 





228 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
even after the renegade had ceased to be the typical Western employee 
in Dar-al-Isl 5 m, a Western homage to the attractiveness of the Islamic 
culture which had formerly taken the radical form of religious conversion 
to the Islamic Faith was still paid in the superficial, yet nevertheless 
psychologically significant, form of the wearing of Islamic dress by 
Western Christian travellers in the Islamic World, as well as by Western 
Christian residents there. While this change of costume had the effect of 
serving as a practical precaution against the danger of arousing a Muslim 
population’s latent fanaticism by flaunting Frankish clothes which, in 
early nineteenth-century Muslim eyes, were still the badge of Unbelief, 1 
the primary motive was never this utilitarian one, but was always a sense 
of admiration; 2 and this hard-dying homage of the Modern West to 
Islam did not cease till it extinguished itself by losing its sincerity and 
evaporating into an affectation 3 that is amusingly satirized in Kinglake’s 
portrait* of the English aristocrat, Lady Hester Stanhope {vivebat a.d. 
1776-1839), theatrically aping the part of a sultan’s mother 5 in her 
dilapidated mansion in the Lebanon. 

These psychological causes of the postponement, for some two 
hundred years, of a doom to which the Islamic World had been 
inexorably condemned before the sixteenth century was over, were 
reinforced by an economic cause and a political one. 

The economic cause was the commercial stagnation of the Mediter¬ 
ranean Sea for some three hundred years after the conquest of the Ocean 
by the West European peoples at the close of the fifteenth century. In its 


the Muslim feelings of even its Western-trained troops by ordering them to present 
arms to officers who were gyaours, even when these gyaour officers were, like von Moltke 
and his colleagues (and also like de Tott in his day), the servants of a foreign sovereign 
and not of the Pidishlh. ‘We’, von Moltke writes, 'were highly distinguished individual 
representatives of an abysmally low-rated category. ... As for Pranks who offer their 
services to the Turks for pay, these naturally find themselves in an immeasurably poorer 
position; and the natural result is that (with a few most honourable exceptions) the only 
Franks who contrive to endure it are of the kind that is prepared to submit to every sort 
of humiliation. People offer themselves as teachers in Turkey who have been bad pupils 
at home’ (Moltke, H. von: Briefe iiber ZuslGndcn und Btgebenheilcn dir Tiirkei (Berlin 
1841, Mittlcr), p. 414). 

* According to a report from Col. Campbell to Sir John Bowring, incorporated in the 
latter’s Report on Eg)'f>t and Can Jin dated the 27th March, 1839 (London 1840, Clowes), 
p. 190, Frankish clothes were by that date commanding respect instead of exciting con¬ 
tempt in Egypt. In Damascus, on the other hand, Frankish clothes were still not to be 
seen (Bowring, J.: Report on the Commercial Statistics oj Syria, dated the 17th July, 
1839 (London 1840, Clowes), p. 92). 

2 Perhaps the most remarkable of all Modern Western sartorial tributes to the abid¬ 
ing prestige of a decadent Islamic Civilization was the nineteenth-century and twentieth- 
century French and British practice of dressing even European troops in uniforms of an 
Islamic style. The Maghribi fez, jacket, and baggy trousers of the French zouave (suw- 
war) had their counterpart in the turban worn by the English officer in a British Indian 
cavalry regiment—a headgear which proclaimed the British Raj to be the Mughal Raj’s 
heir. 

1 See Clot-Bey, A. B.; Aperfu Gcntral sur L‘£gypte (Paris 1840, Fortin et Masson, 
2 vols.), vol. ii, pp. 150-1. 

* Kinglakc, A. W.: Eothtn (tst ed., 1844). chap. 8. 

‘ The wife of an Ottoman sultan came into power if and when her son succeeded her 
husband on the imperial throne; and an Herodotus would have noted with amusement 
that the accident of becoming a widow, for which a woman was penalized in the Hindu 
World by being sent to the funeral pyre to be burnt alive, and in the Western World 
by being sent to the dower house to die of ennui there, was rewarded in the Islamic 
World by the enjoyment, as a widowed mother, of a status and a licence never accorded 
to a wife during her husband's lifetime. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 229 

preoccupation with the task of opening up for itself this vaster and more 
lucrative field of enterprise, 1 the West was content to abandon the 
Levant to Ottoman Greek mariners 2 and the Western Mediterranean to 
Barbary pirates 1 till, as a result of its very success in acquiring an 
oecumenical empire by exploiting its command of oceanic routes, it had 
built up in India and the Far East such substantial interests that the re¬ 
opening of a direct route between India and Western Europe now became 
a matter of importance to West European governments and men of 
business. 

The chief landmark in the history of this change in the Western 
attitude towards the Mediterranean was the British East India Com¬ 
pany’s acquisition of a virtual sovereignty over Bengal in a.d. 1757-60. 
Thenceforward the finding of a short cut between a rapidly expanding 
British Raj in India and this renascent Indian Empire’s new metropolis 
in the British Isles became a more and more earnestly pursued object of 
British policy, 4 and, in an age of Western ascendancy, this renewed 
Western interest in the Mediterranean 5 spelled Western military and 
political intervention in the life of the Islamic countries possessing 
Mediterranean seaboards or situated on the land-bridge between the 
Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. In the fifteenth century the 
Western peoples’ main inducement to seek an ocqanic route, however 
circuitous, from Western Europe to India had been the Western Powers’ 
inability to control a short route via the Mediterranean and the Red Sea 
or the Persian Gulf, because this route was bestridden by Islamic 
Powers whom the West was not then strong enough to coerce. In the 
eighteenth century, Egypt and Syria were still in the hands of their 
former Mamluk Muslim masters’ Ottoman Muslim conquerors and 
successors, but by this date the ‘Osmanlis were no longer capable of 
defending their empire against Western or Westernizing aggressors, 
and the Western Powers could therefore now have, for the taking, a 
Mediterranean route between India and Western Europe which would 
not only be shorter than the Cape route but would also be as fully at 
their command in the military and political circumstances of the day— 
always supposing that the alien competitors for the Islamic World’s 
spoils could agree with one another over the division of them. 

As it turned out, this essential condition of agreement was never 
attained, and the diplomatic and military energy expended in the nine¬ 
teenth and twentieth centuries by each of the Powers on thwarting its 

« The West European peoples’ preoccupation with the Ocean and indifference to the 
Mediterranean in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries is comparable to 
the American people’s preoccupation with their own continent and indifference to 
Europe in the nineteenth century. 

* See pp. 173 - 7 . above. * See p. 121, above. 

* See Hoskins, H. L.: British Routes to India (London 1028, Longmans Green). _ 

» The British had shown an interest in the Western Mediterranean since the begin¬ 
ning of the eighteenth century. They had acquired Gibraltar in A.D. 1704, campaigned 
in Catalonia in A.D. 1704-12, and held Minorca from a.d. 1708 to a.d. 1782. The conflict 
between Great Britain and France which led to these results was, however, a war of the 
Spanish, not the Mughal or the Ottoman, succession; and, even after Malta had come 
into British hands in a.d. 1798 in the Napoleonic round of the Anglo-French duel, 
another generation was to pass before a through-route between England and India vis 
the Mediterranean was to be established by the spanning of the gap between Malta and 
Suez in the direct British line of communications between England and India. 





230 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
rivals’ designs on the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire would 
probably have sufficed to prolong the Ottoman Empire’s life for the 
hundred years and more by which it actually exceeded its natural ex¬ 
pectation, even if the ‘Osmanlis themselves had never made the attempt 
to save their house from destruction by reconstructing it in a Modern 
Western style under the spur of shocking military defeats. 

Though the discomfiture by British arms of a moribund Mughal 
Empire’s local viceroy in Bengal might do little to upset Islamic com¬ 
placency, and might be regarded in the West mainly as an incident in a 
struggle over India between Great Britain and France, the defeat of the 
Ottoman Empire by Russia in the Great Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 
1768-74 was taken everywhere as a portent; and, when in a.d. 1798 the 
French descended upon the Ottoman dominion of Egypt, and overcame 
all resistance there with ease, 1 as a step towards reopening in India a 
contest with their British rivals which had been decided there against 
France in the Seven Years’ War, even shrewd observers took it for 
granted that they would live to see the Ottoman Empire partitioned 
between France, Russia, Great Britain, and the Danubian Hapsburg 
Monarchy. Yet this expectation, natural though it was at the time, was 
not fulfilled in the event; for the only parts of the Ottoman Empire, with¬ 
in its frontiers of a.d. 1768, which were in the possession of any of those 
foreign Powers in a.d. 1952 were the territories adjoining the north and 
cast coasts of the Black Sea, from Bessarabia to Batum inclusive, which 
had fallen to Russia; Cyprus, which had fallen to Great Britain; and 
Tunisia and Algeria, which had fallen to France. As for the Danubian 
Hapsburg Monarchy, which had held Bosnia-Herzegovina from a.d. 
1878 to a.d. 1918 and the sanjaq of NovipazSr from a.d. 1879 to A D - 

S »8, she had voluntarily evacuated Novipazar and had lost Bosnia- 
rzegovina in the act of losing her own existence. 2 The lion’s share of 
the Ottoman Empire of a.d. 1768, from Bosnia to the Yaman and from 
Tripolitania 3 to Moldavia inclusive, had passed into the hands, not of 
alien Great Powers, but of Orthodox Christian and Muslim successor- 
states, of which the largest in area—apart from a mostly arid Sa'udI 
Arabia—was a Turkish Republic stretching from Adrianoplc to Mount 
Ararat. 

This remarkable triumph of the nineteenth-century Western political 
ideal of Nationalism on alien ground could hardly, however, have been 
achieved by the feeble and discordant efforts of the surprisingly liberated 
local peoples if the surrounding Great Powers had not thrust this prize 
into their hands by frustrating one another and thereby creating a 
political vacuum which, when the maintenance of Ottoman sovereignty 


1 See IV. iv. 458-60. 

1 The occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in and after a . d . 1878, and annexation of this 
occupied Ottoman territory in a . d . 1908, had. indeed, been nails driven into the Haps¬ 
burg Monarchy’s coffin by its own statesmen’s hands, since these Hapsburg acts of 
aggression against a moribund Ottoman Empire had had the effect of bringing the 
Monarchy into a head-on collision with a youthful Serb nationalism. 

> A ‘Libya’ consisting of Cyrcnaica, Tripolitania, and Fazzan, which had been con¬ 
quered from the Ottoman Empire by Italy in a.d. t 9 ir-r 2 , and from Italy by Great 
Britain in the general war of A.D. I 939 " 45 . had attained independence on the 24th 
December, 1951. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 231 

proved no longer possible, all the Powers alike preferred to see occupied 
by local successor-states rather than by any of the Great Powers’ own 
number. 

The suzerainty of the Porte over Egypt, for example, was prolonged, 
after all, from a.d. 1798 to a.d. 1924 thanks in the first place to the 
military intervention of Great Britain in a.d. 1801 —when British and 
British Indian expeditionary forces cooperated with an Ottoman 
expeditionary force in compelling the French invaders to capitulate— 
and in the second place to the diplomatic intervention of all the Great 
Powers of the day except France in a.d. 1840-1, when they compelled 
the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Mehmcd 'All, not only to evacuate all 
Asiatic territories of the Ottoman Empire but also to rcacknowledgc the 
suzerainty of the Porte over the African Ottoman territories that were 
being left in his hands, in consideration of his receiving from the Porte 
a grant of the governorship of Egypt for himself and his heirs, and a 
grant of the governorship of the Sudan for himself for life. In the next 
chapter of Egyptian history the occupation of Egypt by Great Britain in 
a.d. 1882 ended, not, as might have been expected, in the replacement of 
Ottoman suzerainty by British sovereignty, but, like the French occupa¬ 
tion of a.d. 1798-1801, in an eventual evacuation—though in this chapter 
of the story the Western occupation lasted fifty-four years (a.d. 1882- 
1936) instead of three, and was followed, not by a reassertion of Ottoman 
suzerainty, but by a general recognition of Egyptian independence. 

In a different quarter, all but an outermost fringe of the Ottoman 
dominions in Rumelia and Anatolia was saved from falling into Russia’s 
hands by the diplomatic action of the other Powers in a.d. 1839 and a.d. 
1878, and by the military intervention of three of them—France, Great 
Britain, and Sardinia—on the Ottoman Empire’s behalf in the Crimean 
War (gerebatur a.d. 1853-5); and Russia took an appropriate diplomatic 
revenge when, in a.d. 1921, a nascent Soviet Union helped a nascent 
Turkish Republic to save itself from an Anglo-Grcek attack which was 
already being hampered by the hostility of France and Italy to any 
further augmentation of their British ally’s power at Turkey’s expense. 
Thanks to the stalemate of power politics in this long-drawn-out game 
of chess, the Ottoman heritage in Anatolia and Rumelia was preserved 
for eventual distribution between a Turkish Republic and the Ottoman 
Empire’s South-East European successor-states. 

The independence of Afghanistan, likewise, was preserved, not only 
by the valour of the Afghans in the first and second Anglo-Afghan wars, 
but by a rivalry between Great Britain and Russia which moved the 
British to bolster up Afghanistan as a buffer-state between India and 
Russia rather than to risk driving the Afghans into Russia’s arms by 
attempting the completion of a conquest which would have been not 
beyond Great Britain’s power, in spite of all Afghan efforts to resist it, 
if the rival Russian Empire had not loomed up over the British Indian 
horizon. 

As for Persia and the Asiatic Arab successor-states of the Ottoman 
Empire outside the Arabian Peninsula, their experience of Russian and 
Western imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had been, 



232 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
down to the year a.d. 1952, much the same as Egypt’s. They had 
managed, after all, to preserve their independence after having been 
perilously caught in the toils. In a.d. 1952 Persia was still independent, 
within frontiers that were approximately those with which she had 
emerged from the Russo-Persian peace-settlement of a.d. i 828, though in 
a.d. 1907 she had been subjected, without being consulted, to the begin¬ 
nings of a partition by the terms of the Anglo-Russian agreement of that 
year. Her unity had been restored in a.d. 1917, when the Russian as well 
as the ‘neutral’ and the British zone of Persia had fallen into the British 
lion’s maw as a result of Russia’s collapse in the First World War; 1 and 
her independence had been restored in a.d. 1921 when the Soviet Union 
—seeking to protect her ‘soft under-belly’ by turning Persia, as well as 
Turkey, into a buffer against British attack—constrained Great Britain 
to withdraw her troops from Persian soil by a show of force on Persia’s 
Caspian coast. As a result of the Ottoman Empire’s dissolution in the 
First World War, ‘Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine had fallen into the 
hands of Great Britain, and Syria and the Lebanon into the hands of 
France; yet, in the sequel, none of these Arab countries had gone the 
way that India and the Maghrib had gone during the hundred years 
ending in a.d. 1914. All of them except Palestine had, after all, secured 
at least a temporary independence as Arab national states—the French 
mandated territories owing to the action of Great Britain on their behalf 
during the Second World War—and the Palestinian Arabs had lost their 
country neither to Great Britain nor to Russia but to the Zionists. 

Thus the rivalries between Great Britain and France, between Great 
Britain and Russia, and between Russia and the Danubian Hapsburg 
Monarchy had preserved the political independence of the core of the 
Islamic World within limits that have been indicated. 2 Each Power had 
taken its turn in preventing its rivals from appropriating the heritage of 
the Islamic Powers and their successor-states; but the Muslim peoples 
had not been entirely passive beneficiaries of this favourable equilibrium 
of alien political forces; for, though the military and political reverses 
which they had suffered in and after a.d. 1768 had not put an end to 
their political independence, the shock of successive disasters had 
nevertheless brought into play the compelling motive of self-preserva¬ 
tion, and this spur had driven the Muslim peoples to enter reluctantly 
upon a course of Westernization in which it had proved impossible to 
call a halt when once the momentous initial step had been taken. 

The Muslim Peoples' Military Approach to the Western Question 

The clues to an understanding of the Muslim peoples’ approach to 
‘the Western Question’ are to be found in three circumstances. At the 
time when the impact of the Modern West became the dominant 
problem in their lives, the Muslim peoples—like the Russians and unlike 
the Ottoman Orthodox Christians at the corresponding crises in their 
histories—were still politically their own masters; they were also the 
heirs of a great military tradition which was the warrant of the Islamic 

1 The short title by which the General War of a.d. 1914-18 was coming to be known 
by the time of writing. a See p. 230, above. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 233 

Civilization’s value in its children’s own eyes; and the sudden demon¬ 
stration of their latter-day military decadence by the unanswerable 
logic of defeat in ordeal by battle 1 was as surprising to them as it was 
humiliating. 

The Muslims’ complacency over their historic military prowess was 
so deeply ingrained in their souls that the lesson implicit in the turn of 
the military tide in their Western adversaries’ favour in a.d. 1683 had 
not yet made any appreciable impression on them by the time when, 
little short of a hundred years later, this lesson was on the point of being 
more sharply driven home. When, after the outbreak of war between 
the Ottoman Empire and Russia in a.d. 1768, it was common knowledge 
in Western Europe that the Russians were intending to bring into action 
a navy in the Modern Western style of that day which they had built up 
in the Baltic, the Porte declined to believe in the physical possibility of 
navigating ships from the Baltic into the Mediterranean till a Russian 
squadron duly turned up in the Levant to the consternation of an 
adversary who was so obstinately unprepared to cope with it. 2 Even 
after this painfully revealing Ottoman experience in the Great Russo- 
Turkish War of a.d. 1768-74, the Egyptian Mamluks could not be 
persuaded that they stood in any danger from their 'Osmanli conquerors’ 
latter-day Western pupils in the art of war. When the Mamluk war-lord 
Mur 5 d Bey was warned by the Venetian business man Rosetti, the 
doyen of the Frankish community in Egypt, that Napoleon’s seizure of 
Malta might be the prelude to a descent on Egypt, Murad Bey burst out 
laughing at the absurdity of such an idea; 3 and, on the very eve of the 
catastrophe, the governor of Alexandria was equally impervious to a 
still more urgent warning given him by a landing-party from Nelson’s 
fleet. 4 

The shock of the denouement was proportionately severe; 5 yet the 
Mamluks’ humiliation in a.d. 1798 was not so painful as the ‘Osmanlis’ 
in a.d. 1774, for the Russians at whose hands the 'Osmanlis had suffered 
their defeat were not even Franks; they were creatures of the same clay 
as the ‘Osmanlis’ Orthodox Christian ra'iyeh , 6 and their country was 
known to the ‘Osmanlis, not as a formidable military Power, but as 
the happy hunting-ground of the ‘Osmanlis’ slave-raiding Krim Tatar 

* The dramatic exposure of the decadence of the Egyptian Mamluks by a French 
infantry whose equipment and training were originally derived from those of the Otto¬ 
man Janissaries in their prime has been noticed in IV. iv. 454-61. 

* ‘Whilst the weakness of the government compelled it to shut its eyes to the excesses 

of a licentious soldiery, the ministers strove to conceal the naval war which threatened 
the Empire. No Russian vessel had ever made its appearance at Constantinople. The 
Russians, therefore, have no ships; or, if by chance they have any, what does that signify 
to the Turks, since there is no communication between the Baltic and the Archipelago? 
The Danes, the Swedes, whose flags are known to the Turks, could not overturn that 
argument in their minds; maps spread out before their eyes had no more effect; and the 
Divan was not yet persuaded of the possibility of the fact when they received intelligence 
of the siege of Coron, the invasion of the Mores, and of the appearance of twelve of the 
enemy's line-of-batt!e ships’ (dc Tott, Baron: Memoirs on the Turks and the Tartars, 
English translation (London 1785, Jarvis, 2 volsj, vol. ii, pp. 14-15). . 

J Clot-Bey, A. B.: Aptrfu Central sur VEgypte (Paris 1840, Fortin ct Masson, 
2 vols.), vol. ii, p. 163. 

* Sec the passage quoted in IV. iv. 458-60 from Shaykh Abd-ar-RahmSn al- 

Jabartl: 'Ajd'ib-al-Athar fi’t-Tardjim uaT-Akhbdr. ..... 

* See Clot-Bey, op. tit., vol. ii, p. 164. 6 See III. ui. 48. 


B 2408 .vui 


12 



234 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
vassals. Yet Muscovy had now signally defeated the Ottoman Empire in 
the field by means of a borrowed Frankish military technique. In fact, 
this Russian victory over Ottoman arms was a Frankish victory at 
second-hand; and, to produce such an effective result through such an 
incompetent agency, Frankish military methods must be potent indeed. 
By starting this train of thought in dismayed Ottoman minds, the 
victorious Empress Catherine II prepared the ground in Turkey for the 
military reforms of Sultan Selim III, while in Egypt a victorious 
Napoleon was in the same sense the forerunner of Mehmed ‘All . 1 

In the Ottoman World at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, as in the Russian World at the turn of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, the aftermath of defeat by a Modern Western war- 
machine was a Westernizing movement from above downwards, begin¬ 
ning with a remodelling of the armed forces. 

‘Ce ne sont jamais les peuples qui font les civilisations, ce sont de 
grandes individuality qui les imposent presque toujours par la lutte et 
par la violence', 

wrote Clot Bey , 2 the French physician whom Mehmed ‘All took into 
his service in a.d. 1825 with a mandate to make provision on Western 
lines for the health of the Pasha of Egypt’s new Westernized army ; 2 and, 
though a generalization from Mehmed ‘All's career does not hold good 
for all the instances of Westernizing revolutions within an historian’s 
purview, the French director of Mehmed 'All’s military medical sendee 
was entirely correct in declaring in a.d. 1840: 

‘C’est l’armde et les nombreux appendices qui s’y rattachent qui ont 
dom \6 h l’figypte l’impulsion civilisatrice qui l'entrainc aujourd’hui . . . 4 
Tout dtait a fairc, et tout a commencd h litre fait h la suite de I’organisation 
militaire.’* 

In the Ottoman Empire, as in Russia, this Westernization from above 
and from a military point of departure cast military officers for the role of 
liberal revolutionaries. The successful revolt of the ‘Young 'Osmanli' 
Committee of Union and Progress in a.d. 1908 against the autocracy 
of Sultan 'Abd-al-Hamid II is the counterpart, in point of personnel, of 
the abortive revolt of the Decembrists against the autocracy of Tsar 
Nicholas I in a.d. 1S25. The leaders of the Decembrists were mostly 
Guards officers, 6 recruited from the Russian nobility, 7 who had served 

1 See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 165. * Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 167. 

5 Sec Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 369-70. 

♦ Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 167. 

» Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii,Jp. J99; cp. p. 200. Sir John Bowring expresses an iden¬ 
tical opinion in his Report on Egypt and Candia (London 1840, Clowes), p. 49. 

6 In thus once again attempting to play a dominant and decisive role in Petrine 
Russia*8 political life, the officers of the Imperial Guard were not, in a.d. 1823, taking 
a new departure. 'For exactly a hundred year* from Peter's death’ in a.d. 1725, the 
Guards had 'decided either the accession or the maintenance on the throne of every 
empress or emperor’ (Sumner, B. H.: Peter the Great and the Emergence oj Russia (London 

7 See Le Monde Slave, Nouvelle Sdrie, 2me Annde, No. 12, Dcccmbre,^i 925 *(Paris 
1923. Alcan): ‘Ccntcnaire des Ddcabristes’ p. 334, Paul Pestel, the leader of the moder¬ 
ate Southern Group, was a free-thinking Protestant of German origin, whose mother 
had lived at the Saxon Court at Dresden (ibid., pp. 360, 369, and 370). 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 235 
in the Russian army of occupation in France after the overthrow of 
Napoleon 1 and were impressed, not so much by the legend of the 
French Revolution, as by the constitutional monarchy which had been 
inaugurated under their eyes in a post-Napoleonic France. 1 The ring¬ 
leaders in the ‘Young ‘Osmanli’ revolution of a.d. 1908 were likewise 
mostly military officers 3 who—in a generation which ‘Abd-al-Hamld’s 
censorship had done its worst to starve of Western intellectual food for 
fear of this infecting them with ‘dangerous thought’—had enjoyed almost 
a monopoly of licensed access to contemporary Western sources of know¬ 
ledge and inspiration, because even an ‘Abd-al-Hamid had perceived 
that without Western-educated officers he could not have a Westernized 
army, and that without a Westernized army he would soon find himself 
an autocrat without an empire. 

No doubt the tyrant’s intention was that the Western studies of his 
military cadets should be strictly confined to technical military manuals, 
but it proved beyond the wit of a secret police to ensure that intelligent 
and idealistic-minded young men should pick nothing but this stony 
fruit from the tree of Modern Western knowledge when a wicket-gate 
into a Western intellectual paradise had once been opened to them. 4 A 
twentieth-century Ottoman, like a nineteenth-century Russian, auto¬ 
cracy was indeed in a dilemma from which it could not escape. If it was 
to insure itself against a danger of being conquered by militarily efficient 
neighbours, it must win military efficiency for itself by providing itself 

1950, English Universities Press), p. 137; cp. eundem: Peter the Great end the Ottoman 
Empire (Oxford 1949, Blackwell), p. 9). The two new phenomena in a.d. 1825, were, first, 
that on this occasion the Russian Imperial Guard—duly keeping abreast of the movement 
of Western political ideas—were taking action on behalf, no longer of enlightened auto¬ 
cracy, but of parliamentary constitutional monarchy (see p. 551, n. 3, below), and, second, 
that this time—for the first time in a hundred years—their intervention in politics was 
unsuccessful. From first to last, Peter’s new-rr.odel Imperial Guard had been the spear¬ 
head of the Westernization movement in Russia which Peter had inaugurated. 

‘The Guards were drawn from the landowning families, but they served for life and 
had been brought up in the full spate of Peter’s reforms. They had grown to manhood 
unhabituated to the traditional Muscovite ways, and were, for the most part, ardent sup¬ 
porters and admirers of their creator . . . Peter used the Guards more and more fre¬ 
quently on all manner of extraordinary, non-military missions, notably to bring to book 
those in high authority.... In the latter part of the reign . . . [they] became something 
like misii dominici. . . . Their official appellation, "compellcrs", speaks volumes. In 
earlier years Peter used them in the Army to compel other troops to discipline; now in 
his closing years he used them in government to compel authorities, high and low alike, 
to behave themselves and cany out the law. They were, as it were, a personal extension 
of Peter’s own thunderclap will’ (Sumner, Peter the Great and the Emergence of Ruuia, 
pp. 36-71). 

1 Sec Masaryk, T. G.: The Spirit of Russia , English translation (London 1919, Allen 
and Unwin, 2 vols.), vol. i, p. 97. The political education of at least two officers of the 
younger generation who played leading parts in the Turkish Revolution of A.D. 1908— 
Enver Bey and Fethi Bey Okyar—was likewise completed by a period of service in the 
Western World; but in both these Turkish military careers the sojourn in the West 
came after, not before, the revolution at home. Enver served as Turkish military attachd 
in Berlin between the revolution of a.d. 1908 and the suppression of the counter¬ 
revolution of a.d. 1909; Fethi served in a.d. 1909 as Turkish military attach* in Paris. 

j See Le Monde Slave, loc. cit., pp. 378-9. 

» Among these, Enver and Jemal won immediate celebrity, but Mustafa Kemal and 
Fethi lived to eam a deservedly greater reputation as leaders of the far more fruitful 
Turkish national movement of a.d. 1919, while the brain of the conspiracy that came to 
a head in a.d. 1908 was not a soldier at all but was the Salonican telegraph clerk Tal'at. 

* Muslim ‘Osmanlis had begun to read Western newspapers since the morrow” of the 
Great Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1768-74 (Jorga, N.: Geschichle det Osmaniscken 
Reiches (Gotha 1908-13, Perthes, 5 vols.), vol. v, p. 44). 



236 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
with fighting forces on the Modern Western pattern; but it could not do 
this without exposing itself to the alternative danger of being destroyed, 
not by foreign conquest, but by domestic revolution, through the recep¬ 
tion of subversive Western political ideas by the professionally Westem- 
trained military officers on whose technical proficiency the military 
quality of the autocracy’s fighting forces depended. This dilemma 
explains the emergence, in both Russian and Ottoman history, of a 
characteristic figure—the liberal revolutionary military officer—which 
was a natural phenomenon in a social no-man’s-land between two con¬ 
flicting cultures, however paradoxical it might appear to be in Western 
eyes accustomed to a middle-class social order in which ‘Liberalism’ and 
‘Militarism’ were mutually exclusive conceptions. 

Up to this point we have been noticing similarities in the courses 
taken by the Westernizing movement on Islamic and on Russian ground; 
but there was at least one point of capital importance in which the two 
movements differed sharply. Peter the Great divined, with the in¬ 
sight of genius, that a policy of Westernization must be ‘all or nothing’. 
He saw that, in order to make a success of it, he must press on without a 
pause when once he had embarked on it, and must apply it to all depart¬ 
ments of life, whatever his particular starting-point might have been. 
Accordingly Peter—setting out, like his Ottoman counterparts, from a 
military point of departure, and being prompted in the first instance, as 
they were prompted, by the motive of self-preservation—never thought 
of coming to a halt at the limits of the military sphere (if any such limits 
could be drawn in the internal economy of a society which, in seeking 
to Westernize its fighting forces, was seeking by definition to equip them 
with technical resources of civilian provenance). Peter forged straight 
ahead from his narrower towards his wider objective; 1 and, though, as 
we have seen, 2 the Petrine regime in Russia never succeeded in Western¬ 
izing more than the urban superstructure of life and ultimately paid the 
penalty for its failure to leaven the rural mass 3 by forfeiting its mandate 
to Communism, this arrest of its cultural offensive short of its compre- • 
hensive goal was due perhaps not so much to failure of vision or to 
inadequacy of agenda as to lack of sufficient driving-power. In Turkey, 
on the other hand, for a century and a half, from the outbreak of the 
Great Russo-Turkish War in a.d. 1768 till after the close of the First 
World War in a.d. 1918, the converts a contre cceur to a policy of 
Westernizing the Ottoman fighting forces continued, in despite of 
successive painful exposures or their fallacy, to hug the illusion that, in 

« See p. 138. above. . . * On p. 140, above. 

» Peter’s 'efforts to improve agriculture were intermittent, sporadic and ineffectual 
(Sumner, Peter the Great and the Emergence of Russia, p. 161), though agriculture was 
the almost exclusive source of Petrine Russia’s wealth, on which such heavy new calls 
were being made by the high-speed Westernization of the fighting forces, administra¬ 
tion, and industry. Moreover, ’so far from attempting to alter serfdom as the basis of 
the state, Peter clamped it down more firmly on the peasantry' (ibid., p. 151; cp- PP- 
157-8). In consequence, the Russian peasantry never came to feel that the Russian State 
was their affair (sec Weidld, W.: La Russie Absents et Present* (Paris 1949, Gallimard), 
pp. 163-4); and, though, in the last days of the Petrine regime, the peasantry was 
courted belatedly by the governing class and its agents as well as by the Intelligentsia— 
Rasputin, as well as Tolstoy, went into peasant dress—the peasantry rejected im¬ 
partially both the Petrine governing class and an Intelligentsia which had been moved to 
secede from it by a sentimental cult of ’the People’ (sec ibid., pp. 110-12 and 183-4). 


THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 237 

adopting elements from an alien culture, it was possible to pick and 
choose—as though a culture were not an organic way of life which must 
be taken or left as a whole. 1 

During that century and a half the prevalent ideal in Ottoman hearts 
was to adopt the alien culture of the Modern Western World to the 
minimum extent required for immediate self-preservation, and it took 
Ottoman minds five generations to learn that the practicable minimum 
was nothing less than the ideal maximum. The judgement on all the 
successive doses of Westernization that the 'Osmanlis administered to 
themselves, with wry faces, in the course of that age of their history is the 
damning verdict: 'Each time too little and too late’; 2 and this verdict 
is said to have been pronounced by the post-Mahmudian ‘Osmanli 
reformer-statesman Mustafa Mehmed Reshid Pasha (vivebat a.d. 
i8o2(?)-58), at the beginning of his career, in the following words: 

‘Le malhcur, e’est qu’il faut nous hater, et qui ne connait l’indolence 
du Musulman et ses insurmontables pr6jugcs! Indolence et pr£jug£s, 
voil& nos plus grands ennemis. Ce sont eux qui arrfitent notre marche, et 
nous devrions count.’ 1 

It was not till a.d. 1919, when this persistent impolicy threatened to 
deprive the Ottoman Turks of their Turkish homeland, after having 
already lost them their non-Turkish subject territories, that Mustafa 
Kemal and his companions committed themselves and their countrymen 
unreservedly to the policy of whole-hearted Westernization on which 
Peter the Great had launched out unhesitatingly as soon as he had 
become master of Russia's destinies. 

This long-pursued Ottoman practice of ‘staggering’ the process of 
Westernization, which cost the ‘Osmanlis so dear before they eventually 
threw it over, was the reflexion of a negative inertia and repugnance 
rather than the expression of any positive policy. At the same time the 
tragedy of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III and the tragi-comedy of the 
Afghan King Am§nall 5 h suggest that the Islamic Westernizers might 
have run the risk of bringing on themselves other serious setbacks if 
they had been quicker to abandon the tactics of 'hastening slowly’ along 
a treacherous westward road. While a Mustafa Kemal Atatiirk found 
himself strong enough, in the fifth generation of an Ottoman Westerniz¬ 
ing movement, to venture deliberately to flout Islamic custom by tearing 
the veils off Muslim women’s faces and compelling the men to wear hats 
with brims in which it was impossible for them to perform their prayer- 
drill, 4 his Ottoman predecessor and his Afghan contemporary both came 
to grief through attempting, in the first generation, to emulate the 
calculated provocativeness of Peter the Great. When Peter inaugurated 
his Westernization campaign by shaving Muscovite beards, this psycho¬ 
logical Blitzkrieg justified its audacity by breaking the spirit of the 
conservative opposition without giving them time to go into action 


» On this question see pp. 542-64. below. 

» Sec II. ii. 186-7 »nd III- iti. 47- . _ 

3 Reshid Pasha, as quoted by Engclhardt, E.: La Turquie et le Tanzlmdt (Pans 1882- 
4, Cotillon [et Pichon, succcsseur], 2 vols.), vol. ii, p. 3 2 S- 
* See V. vi. 102-3. 



238 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
against the impious futurist innovator. But, when Selim III put his 
new model army into uniforms in the Western style, and when Amanallah 
brought back from London 1,001 ready-made suits of Western civilian 
clothes and clad in these the 1,001 members of a Great National 
Assembly (Lee Jirga) of conservative-minded Afghan tribal notables in 
October 1928,’ the Afghan imitator of Peter paid for his audacity with his 
throne, 2 and the ‘Osmanli with his life. 

In the Ottoman World down to the time of writing, a still unconcluded 
drama of Westernization had so far run through four acts. The first act 
was the abortive attempt to Westernize the Ottoman fighting forces 
that was made by Sultan Selim III (imperabat a.d. 1789-1807). The 
second act was an abortive attempt to instil a tincture of Western 
Civilization into Ottoman civil life as a corollary of the successful 
Westernization of the fighting forces in Turkey by Sultan Mahmud II 
(imperabat a.d. 1808-39) an< * * n Egypt by Mehmed ‘All (proconsulari 
munere fungebatur a.d. 1805-49). Both these two great Ottoman Turkish 
Westernizers performed wonders, yet the impetus that they gave to an 
Ottoman Westernizing movement did not outlive its authors for longer 
than a single generation, and the subsequent collapse of their work was 
due, not solely to the incapacity of their epigoni, but also to an inherent 
weakness in the work itself; for, though Mahmud, as well as Mehmed 
‘All, had perceived that it was impossible to Westernize his fighting 
forces effectively without setting them in a Westernized framework of 
civilian life, not even Mehmed 'All had carried this ancillary process of 
Westernization in the civilian sphere deep enough, or far enough afield, 
to provide sufficiently solid civilian foundations for an ambitious military 
superstructure, and the eventual result of this discrepancy was a 
financial, military, and political collapse which overtook Turkey and 
Egypt simultaneously at the turn of the eighth and ninth decades of the 
nineteenth century. In Turkey this unhappy ending of the second 
act was followed by the opening of a third act in a.d. 1908, when the 
Committee of Union and Progress was brought into power by a military 
revolution which compelled Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamld II to reinstate the 
constitution which he had accepted on the 23rd December, 1876, and 
suspended on the 14th February, 1878. This third act, in its turn, ended 
disastrously for Turkey in seven years of war (a.d. 1911-18) which left her 
not only militarily prostrate but actually in danger of political annihila¬ 
tion. Yet a situation which might have been the end of the play was 
followed, after all, by a fourth act, opening in a.d. 1919, in which the 
Ottoman Turkish people, under the leadership of Ghazi Mustafa Kcmal, 
abandoned the now hopeless task of saving the Ottoman Empire in 
order to concentrate their efforts on the new objective of salvaging out of 
the wreckage a Turkish nation-state whose survival was to be ensured by 
a radical reconstruction on a Western basis. At the time of writing, 
this notable enterprise had been carried successfully through its first 
stage. 

1 See Toynbee, A. J., and Boulter, V. M.: Survey 0] International Affairs, 1928 
(London 1929, Milford), p. 205. 

* For Amanallah’* career, see V. v. 333 and V. vi. 234. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 239 

The Salvaging of an Ottoman Society by Selim III, Mehmed ‘Alt, and 
Mahmud II 

Selim Ill’s pioneer adventure in the Westernization of Turkey had an 
ominous overture in Krim Tatary during the brief interval of nine years 
between the renunciation of Ottoman suzerainty over the Khanate in the 
Russo-Turkish Peace Treaty of Kuchiik Qaynarja ( pactum a.d. 1774)' 
and the annexation of the Khanate by Russia in a.d. 1783. Khan Shahln 
Giray ( regebat a.d. 1777-83), finding himself left at the mercy of a 
victorious Russian Empire that was his immediate neighbour, was 
quicker than his ex-suzerain the Porte to discern, and act upon, the 
signs of the times. He set himself forthwith to Westernize his army; but, 
before this pathetic attempt to retrieve a desperate situation was crushed 
by Russia’s heavy hand, it had evoked a reactionary domestic insurrec¬ 
tion and had burdened the Khanate with a crushing load of national 
debt—two portents of troubles that were to overtake Turkey likewise in 
her subsequent pilgrimage towards the same Western goal. 2 

In Turkey, Western military experts were employed by the Porte in 
the war with the Hapsburg Monarchy and Russia that broke out in a.d. 
1788 ; J but the first comprehensive attempt to remodel the Ottoman 
army and navy was not made till after the accession of Selim III in 
a.d. 1789 and the restoration of peace in a.d. 1792. The Ottoman Navy 
was reorganized by French hands; Selim’s new-model army, the Nizam- 
i-Jcdid, was inaugurated in 1793. 4 The tragic end of this enlightened 
experiment demonstrated that, in the political strategy of military 
Westernization in the Ottoman World, an indispensable opening move 
was to get rid of the classical regular army represented in Turkey by the 
Padishah’s Slave-Household and in Egypt by the Mamluks; for, while, 
by Selim Ill’s day, more than a century had passed since a Janissary 
Corps which had once been the best infantry in the World had ceased 
to be of any avail in war against the Ottoman Empire’s foreign enemies, 
the reformer-sultan’s fate showed that the Janissaries still held their own 
sovereign’s life in their hands and that the living generation had no more 
scruple than their seventeenth-century predecessors had had against 
murdering a Padishah when his policy seemed to them to threaten their 
vested interests. 

In the next act of the Ottoman drama, this lesson was taken to heart 
by Selim Ill’s cousin and all but immediate successor, Mahmud II, and 
in Egypt by Mehmed ‘AH. Mahmud managed to extirpate the Janissaries 
in a . d . 1826, eighteen years after he had been placed on his perilous 
throne, 5 and Mehmed 'All the Egyptian Mamluks in a.d. 1811, six years 
after he had contrived to be appointed Pasha of Egypt, 6 as Peter had 

* The eventual frustration of a sly Ottoman attempt to reacquire this suzerainty by 
reserving the Sultan’s jurisdiction over the Crimea in his capacity as Caliph has been 
noticed in VI. vii. 23, with n. 4. 

* See Jorga, N.: Geichichle del OsmartischenReiches (Gotha 1908-13, Perthes, 5 vols.), 



240 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
extirpated the Streltsy 1 in a.d. 1698-9, 2 ten years after his own advent to 
effective power; and, while Mehmcd ‘AH did not have to exercise such 
patience as Mahmud in waiting for his opportunity to put his drones to 
death, he did show extreme caution and tact in taking the steps by which 
he gradually built up a counterpart in Egypt of Selim Ill’s abortive 
Niz 3 m-i-Jedid. 

By the time of his elevation to the viceroyalty of Egypt in a.d. 1805, 
Mehmed ‘AH was in a position to profit by Egyptian experience during 
the four years that had passed since his second appearance on the scene 
in a.d. 1801 as an officer in the Ottoman expeditionary force which had 
arrived in Egypt in that year. 3 The French Army that had conquered 
Egypt in a.d. 1798 and occupied it thereafter during the years a.d. 1798- 
1801 had made a still deeper impression on the Muslim soldiers who had 
encountered them than had been made on the Porte by the Western- 
trained Russian army and navy that had defeated the Ottoman fighting 
forces in a.d. 1768-74. Even the Mamluks, in their lair in Upper Egypt, 
had attempted to driU their troops French-fashion; 4 the Mamluk war¬ 
lord Husayn Bey al-Afranji went so far as to raise a troop of Egyptian 
Christian soldiers, with French drums to keep them in step; 3 and 
Muhammad al-Alfi likewise had a unit of French-drilled troops, whose 
evolutions Mehmed ‘AH used, in a.d, 1806, to watch through field 
glasses. 6 The classically educated and conservative-minded qul Khosrev 

1 "The Streltsy, part palace guard, part standing army and police force, organised 
in twenty-two regiments, each about a thousand strong, and stationed mainly in Mos¬ 
cow. were more addicted to armed outbursts than fitted for serious military operation*. 
... They were a hereditary, privileged force, recruited for the most part from the towns¬ 
folk, partly engaged in trade and handicrafts, living apart in their own quarters, an in- 
citable hotbed of superstition, pride, reaction, and religious dissent' (Sumner: Peter the 
Great and the Emergence ojPussia, p. it). 

* See III. iii. 282, n. 1. While Peter had been absent from Russia on his Western tour 
of a.d. 1697-8, the Streltsy had tried to play the same trick as the Janissaries succeeded 
in playing on Selim III. Deserters from the Streltsy regiments stationed in the provinces 
had marched on Moscow with the programme of wiping out Peter's German partisans 
and dethroning the Tsar in favour of his elder sister Sophia, who had been in power as 
regent between the anti-Petrinc revolution of May 1682 (when Peter’s adherents had 
once already been massacred) and the pro-Petrine revolution of A.D. 1689. This Putsch 
was crushed by Peter’s Scottish right-hand-man Gordon before Peter had had time to 
return to Moscow from Vienna, where the news of the revolt had found him. On his 
return he took savage punitive measures against the rebels; the Streltsy Corps itself was 
disbanded; and the survivors were forbidden to bear arms (sec BriSckner, A.: Peter der 
Grosse (Berlin 1879, Grote), pp. 257-66). While Peter was justified, from his own stand¬ 
point, in destroying a long since useless corps which had tried to deprive him of his 
throne and would not have hesitated to take his life, the Streltsy, on their side, had had 
grounds for mistrusting Peter’s intentions towards them. Between his effective advent 
to power in a.d. 1689 and his two campaigns against the Ottoman fortress of Azov, he 
had advertised their incompetence by pitting them against his new Western-trained 
regiments in manoeuvres (BrOckner, op. cit., p. no); he was suspect of having used the 
two Azov campaigns of A.D. 1695 and A.D. 1696 as opportunities for decimating them 
(BrOckner, op. cit., p. 252), a* the Ottoman statesmen of the House of KbprtllO had been 
suspected of prolonging the War of Candia in order to reduce the numbers of the Janis¬ 
saries (sec III. iii. 49, n. 4); and, on the eve of his departure from Russia in A.D. 1697, 
he had banished them from Moscow (BrOckner, op. cit., p. 249). 

J Mehmed ‘AH had volunteered for service in Egypt in A.D. 1798, and had duly 
served in the first Turkish expeditionary force that had suffered disaster at Aboukir 
on the 25th July, 1799. 

* See Jabarti,Shaykh’Abd-ar-Rahmanal -:' Aja'ib-al-Athdrfi’t-Tarujimxva'l-Akhbar, 
French translation: Mtrveilles Biographizes et Histmiques (Cairo 1888-96, Imprimerie 
Nationale; Paris 1888-96, Leroux, 9 vols.), vol. vii, p. 128. Cp. vol. viii, p. 46. 

* See Jabarti, op. cit., vol. vii, p. 253. 

6 See Jabarti, op. cit., vol. viii, p. 46. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 241 
Pasha, who was the first viceroy of Egypt under the restored Ottoman 
regime after the capitulation of the French in a.d. 1801, set to work next 
year to provide himself with the rudiments of a Niz 5 m-i-Jedid by re¬ 
cruiting Sudanese pilgrims en route through Egypt; dressing these in 
uniforms of a French cut; requisitioning black slaves from private 
owners; giving these, too, a military training; and also requisitioning 
white slaves, whom he equipped like Mamluks but placed under the 
command of French officers with a stiffening in the ranks of as many 
French deserters as he could enlist. 1 This experiment had as unhappy an 
ending as Khosrcv’s master Sultan Selim Ill’s; for, when Khosrev led his 
new-model army against the unpaid and consequently mutinous Albanian 
mercenary troops of the Ottoman army of reoccupation, he not only failed 
to dislodge the mutineers from the citadel of Cairo, but was driven by them 
out of the capital and barely succeeded in escaping from Egypt alive. 2 

These turbulent Albanian barbarians, who had arrived in Egypt in the 
Ottoman expeditionary force of a.d. 1801 with Mehmed 'All as their 
second in command, 3 required more delicate handling than the degener¬ 
ate Egyptian Mamluks and Janissaries. 4 * In a.d. 1806 Mehmed ‘All had 
to quell a mutiny of Albanian troops to whom he owed arrears of pay.* 
In a.d. 1813 he ventured with impunity to impose a fatigue of Western 
drill, twice a week, on the expeditionary force that was at that time in 
training for an assault upon the Wahhabis in the Hijaz; 6 but a more 
systematic attempt that he made in a.d. 1815 to impose not only Western 
drill but also Western uniforms on his Albanian and Turkish troops 
provoked a mutiny at Cairo 7 in the spirit of the tmeutes against Khan 
Shaliln Gir 3 y and Sultan Selim; Mehmed 'All could count himself 
fortunate in managing to bribe the mutineers into a return to discipline 8 
before he had suffered Selim’s fate; and this lesson taught the canny 
Rumeliot to outmanceuvrc his wild men instead of hazarding a second 
frontal attack on their susceptibilities. 

1 See Jnbarti, op. cit., vol. vii, p. na. 

1 See Jabarti, op. cit., vo!. vii, pp. 163 and 167. The Albanian mutineers pillaged 
Khosrev Pasha’s house in Cairo, but the Pasha's harem was defended by eighteen French 
soldiers in his service, who kept the mutineers out till all the women had been evacuated 
(ibid., p. 166). 

J Their commander, Tahir, was not only an Albanian himself but had little or no 
command of any language except his Albanian mother tongue. He frequented the 
[?Bektashi] dervishes in Cairo and attended their religious exercises (Jabarti, op. cit., 
vol. vii, p. iSt). A few weeks after he had driven Khosrev Pasha out of Cairo and out of 
Egypt, Tahir met his death in a clash between his Albanians and the Egyptian Janis¬ 
saries, and this left the way clear for his second-in-command, Mehmed ‘Ali, to make 
himself absolute master of Egypt in the course of the twenty years a.d. 1803-23 by suc¬ 
cessively playing off the Mamluks against the Janissaries, the 'Ulamfi against the Delis, 
and finally Joseph Sive’s French-trained Sudanese regular troops against the Albanians. 

* The Egyptian Janissaries were so degenerate by this date that Mehmed ‘Ali did not 
find it necessary to pay them the left-handed compliment of massacring them. Their 
spirit had already been broken by the humiliation of falling under the ascendancy of the 
Mamluks whom it was their hereditary duty to hold in check (sec IV. iv. 453-4). 

s See Jabarti, op. cit., vol. viii, pp. 17-18. 

* See Jabarti, op. cit., vol. ix, p. 11. The local representatives of the Western Powers 
were invited to watch these manoeuvres (ibid., p. 29). 

7 See Jabarti, op. cit., vol. ix, pp. 122-31; Clot-Bey, A. B.: Aperfu CMral sur VEgypte 
(Paris 1840, Fortin et Masson, 2 vols.), vol. i, p. Ixvii. 

* See Jabarti, op. cit., vol. ix, p. 131. Mehmed ‘Ali did succeed in the same year in 
persuading the commander and the rank-and-file of one regiment of Delis to wear the 
new Western uniforms (Jabarti, op. cit., vol. cit., p. 132). 



z 4 2 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 

In a.d. 1819 Mehmcd ‘All hired an unemployed Napoleonic French 
soldier, Joseph S6vc; posted him at Asw 5 n, at the southern extremity of 
Upper Egypt, out of the Albanians’ sight and mind; 1 set him to work 
there on giving one thousand recruits a three years’ training; 1 persuaded 
him to become a nominal convert to Islam under the name of Suleyman; 3 
took a leaf out of his own unfortunate predecessor Khosrev Pasha’s book 
by going on, between January, 1823, and June, 1824, to furnish Sive with 
thirty thousand Sudanese negro slave-recruits who had been captured 
in the campaigns of conquest in the Upper Basin of the Nile that had 
been started in a.d. 1820; 4 and then gradually replaced these black 
troops by still more docile and far less expensive Egyptian peasant 
conscripts. 5 Pari passu with the formation of this new-model army in the 
Western style, Mehmcd ‘Ali disbanded his dangerous Albanian and 
Turkish irregular troops by such gradual stages that their sting was 
drawn before their eyes were opened to the ruse that the Pasha had been 
playing on them. 6 

Correspondingly acute difficulties were encountered and overcome by 
Sultan Mahmud II in building up his new-model army in Turkey—an 

1 Sec Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. Ixviii. 

* See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 202. The core of this new-mode! army wasa body of 
three or four hundred young Mamluks who had saved their lives by capitulating and 
becoming Mehmcd ‘All's property (Vingtrinicr, A.: SoKman-Ptuha (Paris 1886, Firmin- 
Didot), p. 101). Sive succeeded in disciplining these turbulent and murderous troops by 
winning their devotion through showing himself completely fearless in face of an attempt 
to take his life on the parade-ground (ibid., pp. 102-4; Bowring, J.: Report on Egypt and 
Candia (London 1840, Clowes), p. 50). These reclaimed MamlQks provided a corps of 
officers for the new-model army when the rank-and-file was expanded by drafts of 
Sudanese negro slave-recruit* and Egyptian peasant conscript* (Clot-Bey, op. cit., 
vol. ii, p. 203). 

* Sec Vingtrinicr, op. cit., p. 105. Clot-Bey distinguished himself by refusing to 
apostatize (ibid., p. 105). 

4 See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 203; Vingtrinicr, op. cit., pp. x 14 and 117. 

* See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 204, and also Bowring, J.: Report on Egypt and 
Candia (London 1840, Clowes), p. 49, with the story, ibid., p. 50, of Colonel Sivc’s 
handling of his three hundred Maml uka. Mehmed ‘Ali’a original plan had been to 
recruit Negro slaves in order to avoid the necessity of conscripting Egyptian peasants, 
but this servile military material proved too expensive (Bowring, op. cit., p. 16). These 
Sudanese slave-recruits 'were strong and docile enough, submitted patiently to military 
discipline, and learnt their drill; but they refused to be kept alive* (Dodwell, H.: The 
Founder of Modern Egypt (Cambridge 1931, University Press), p. 64). According to a 
dispatch of the 8th February, 1824 (F.O. 78/126) from the British Consul-General in 
Ejtyph Henry Salt, cited by Dodwell, op. cit., p. 65, some 20,000 of them were thought 
to have been collected and sent up to Aswan by A.D. 1824, but in that year not 3,000 
remained alive. It was on the advice of the French Consul-General Drovetti that Mch- 
med ‘Ali had recourse to the conscription of Egyptian fall 3 hin as an alternative source 
of military man-power (according to Jabarti, op. cit., vol. ix, p. 82, 7,000 had been 
conscripted in a.d. 1S14 for the war against the Wahhabis in the Hijaz). About 30,000 
of these conscripts were sent to S*ve at Aswan. ‘Salt, who visited the training camp with 
Mehmed 'Ali in 1824, thought the Pasha had reason to be delighted with and proud of 
his new army’ (Dodwell, op. cit., p. 65). 


1803, was avenged by a successor of Khosrcv's who had been their second-in-command 
at that time. In a.d. 1823 six regiments of Mehmcd ‘Ali Pasha’s French-trained Sudan¬ 
ese regular troops made short work of the Albanian mutineers. After Sive had marched 
his twenty-five thousand new-model troops from Aswan to within four leagues of Cairo, 
the Albanians submitted to the choice, offered them by Mehmed 'Ali, of either entering 
the new regular army or leaving Egypt. The revolt of the Albanians against the employ¬ 
ment of French officers had been doubly dangerous because it had been accompanied 
by a revolt of the fallfihin against conscription; but, after the Albanians’ collapse, the 
falluhin, too, became submissive (Vingtrinicr, op. cit., pp. 123 and 127). 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 243 
enterprise on which he embarked on the 16th June, 1826, literally on 
the morrow of the destruction of the Janissaries. 1 The nucleus of his new 
force was provided by remnants of divers corps that had been created or 
reorganized on Western lines by Selim III; but the officers of these 
corps did not suffice for an expanded army in the Western style, even 
when they were reinforced by officers borrowed from Mehmed ‘All 
and by a few Western renegade officers for the cavalry, artillery, and 
engineers. 2 As for the rank-and-file, it had to be recruited by force in the 
teeth of conservative resistance. In Bosnia, Mahmud's local recruiting 
officer was mobbed, and the new Western-style uniforms were torn to 
pieces. 3 The pressed men had to be brought to barracks in chains and 
kept under guard after their arrival. 4 * The least unsatisfactory recruits 
were boys from the poorer classes of the Muslim community whose 
families had no traditional associations with the Janissaries, s and many 
of these boy recruits were not more than thirteen years old. 6 The privates 
were quicker in mastering Western drill than the high command was in 
mastering the Western art of war. 7 

When Mehmed 'All won a free hand, he carried through to completion 
his policy of Westernizing his armed forces. Under the general super¬ 
intendence of Colonel S6ve as Chief of Staff, 8 a training school for 
infantry officers, directed by a Piedmontese ci-devant Napoleonic 
officer, Bolognini, was opened at Damietta, 9 and an artillery school at 
Turah under a Portuguese director, Scguerra. 10 * A regular cavalry force 
was not organized till after Mehmed ‘All’s son, Ibrahim Pasha, had seen 
the French cavalry in the Morea," when they were replacing his own 
troops on the eve of his evacuation, under force majeure , after the des¬ 
truction of the Egyptian and Turkish fleets at Navarino by a combined 
Anglo-Franco-Russian naval force. Thereafter a cavalry school was 
opened at Gizah, in a palace formerly belonging to the Mamluk war-lord 
Murad Bey, under the direction of a French officer, Varin. 12 In the army 
as a whole, the contemporary French military organization was copied 
exactly (except that Turkish was retained as the language for the words 
of command). 13 The French system of discipline was introduced, and was 

1 See Bastelberger, J. M.: Die militdrischtn Ref omen unter Mahmud 11 , dem Reiter 

des Oimanuchen Reiehei (Gotha 1874. Perthes), pp. 109 and 128. 

* See Bastelberger, op. cit., pp. 127-9. In ‘he artillery the renegades were the only 

scientifically trained officers (ibid., p. 142). 

> See ibid., pp. 126-7. 4 See ibid., p. 134. 

* Sec ibid., pp. 126-7. 6 Sec ibid., pp. 127, » 39 . *nd J73. 

’ Sec ibid., pp. 139-40. The new Turkish, like the new Egyptian, army was governed 

by the French rigUnunU (ibid., p. 139). * Sec Bowring, op. cit., p. 49. 

9 See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 204. 

See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 207. 

'« Sec Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. Ixxxii, and vol. ii, p. 20s. In the new-mode! Turkish 
army the cavalry proved more difficult to train alia Franca than the infantry. The Turks 
particularly disliked the Western style of horsemanship. A Westernized Turkish cavalry 
was produced in the end thanks to the work of their Western instructors and to the per¬ 
sonal concern of Sultan Mahmud, who was particularly interested in this arm (Bastcl- 
berger, op. cit., pp. 129-30 and 141-2). 

,J See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 206; cp. Bowring, op. cit., pp. 52-53. In Ibrihfm 
Pasha’s army of occupation in Syria, the cavalry were not so well drilled as the infantry, 
according to the British Consul-General in Egypt, Colonel Patrick Campbell, in a report 
on Syria in a.d. 1837. printed in J. Bowring's Report on the Commercial Statiitici of 
Syria, dated the 17th July, 1839 (London 1840, Clowes), p. 128. 

«J See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 208. 



244 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
administered according to the French military penal code* (except that 
the traditional Egyptian punishment of the bastinado was not abolished ). 1 

The Egyptian new-model army was also made to march to French 
military music; 3 but in the psychologically significant and politically 
delicate matter of military dress Mchmed ‘All—taught by his unfortu¬ 
nate experience in a.d. 1815 4 —showed more prudence than Sultan 
Mahmud II in making a judicious compromise. Mahmud put his new- 
model army into a completely Western military costume from the neck 
downwards, and thereby brought into odium his entire programme of 
reform by identifying it in Muslim minds with hateful Western clothes 5 

1 A new-model navy was created for Mchmed 'Alt by French naval officers on parallel 
lines: 

‘The naval code adopted in Egypt is that of France, whose introduction must be 
traced to the number of French sea-officers who have entered the Egyptian Navy, and 
many of them obtained elevated command. Very essential services have indeed been 
rendered to the Egyptian Marine by French naval officers, especially by Ccrisy Bey, 
who had for many years charge of the arsenal at Alexandria, and Besson Bey, who was 
second in command in the Fleet’ (Bowring, J.: Report on Egypt and Candia, dated the 
27th March, 1839 (London 1840, Clowes), p. 54). 

Mehmed ‘Ali’s first-hand observation of the potency of sea-power in the campaigns 
in and around Egypt during the years a.d. 1799-1807 had made him alive to the value of 
a navy in the Modem Western style for a nineteenth-century ruler of Egypt, and he 
started work on building one up for himself in A.D. 1808, immediately after his repulse 
of the British invasion of Egypt in A.D. 1807 and seven years before his abortive first 
attempt in a.d. 1815-16 to create a new-model army. After buying Western warships 
at second hand, Mehmed ’Ali obtained in a.d. 182; the French Government’s permission 
to have two frigates and one brig built for him at Marseilles (Dodwell, op. cit., pp. 66 
and 223). ‘A little later he made a dock at Alexandria and began to build on his own 
account, employing French shipwrights to control the work’ (ibid.). His naval dockyard 
at Alexandria, on the other hand, was not started till A.D. 1828 (ibid.), when he was be¬ 
ginning to replace his original Western-model navy which he had lost at Navarino. 
A French expert from the naval dockyard at Toulon, Ccrisy, was put in charge of the 
dockyard at Alexandria in a.d. 1829 (ibid.). A line-of-battle ship of one hundred guns 
was launched on the 3rd January, 1811 (Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 222-5). B Y *•*>• 
1833 Mehmed ’Ali had 6 ships of the line, ranging in scale of armament from 84 to 110 
guns, and 7 frigates, and, by a.d. 1837, 8 ships of the line, with one more under construc¬ 
tion. The number of hands employed in the arsenal at Alexandria rose to over 3,000 
under the direction of 60 Westerners, and the naval school at Ras-al-Tin had a strength 
of 1,200 cadets (Dodwell, op. cit, p. 223). In a.d. 1839 Mehmed ‘Ali’s navy was still 
being managed for him by Frenchmen, but Mehmed Bey, who was the controller of the 
dockyard at that time, had been educated in England (Bowring; Report on Egypt and 
Candia, pp. 33 ~ 34 ). 

J See Clot-Bey, op. cit, p. 212; cp. Bowring, op. cit, pp. 52-3. 

J See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 81. 

* See p. 241, above. In Egypt the style and cut of Frankish military uniforms had 
offended the aesthetic susceptibilities, not only of the Rumeliot soldiery who had been 
ordered to assume this alien garb, but also of the native Egyptian civilian spectators. 
Jabarti, for example, comments (in op. cit., vol. ix, p. 140) on the ugliness of the new 
uniforms, and laments, in this context, over the disappearance of a traditional decorum 
and good taste. 

s In the uniform of Mahmud’s Westernized Turkish Army by a.d. 1839 the loose 
native shalwar had been replaced by tight Western pantaloons for all ranks, while the 
officers had also been put into Western military frock-coats (Bastelberger, op. cit., pp. 
202-3). These affectations drew criticism from Mehmed ‘All’s son and right-hand-man 
IbrShim Pasha, who was the leading exponent of the rival Egyptian school of Ottoman 
Westemizcrs: 

The Porte have taken Civilisation by the wrong side. It is not by giving epaulettes 
and tight trousers to a nation that you begin the task of regeneration. Instead of begin¬ 
ning by their dress—and dress will never make a straight man of one who is lame— 
they should endeavour to enlighten the minds of their people. Look at us: we have 
schools of every description; we send our young men to be educated in Europe. We are 
also Turks, but we defer to the opinions of those who are capable of directing our own, 
whereas no regard is paid by the Porte to advice that is not their own. Their men would 
make very good soldiers, but their officers ... I The only man they had, capable of con¬ 
ducting their affairs, is the late Grand Vizier, Reshid Pasha. . . . You see the treatment 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 245 
—though, in deference to the sjTnbolic significance with which head- 
gear, above all other articles of dress, was traditionally charged in the 
Islamic World, he did draw the line at forcing a Western form of military 
hat on to his soldiers’ heads. In the army, as in the civil service, Mahmud 
effaced former invidious distinctions by replacing the studied diversity 
of the traditional Islamic headgear by the egalitarian uniformity of the 
non-Western fez , 1 but a hundred more years were to pass before 
Mahmud’s successor, Mustafa Kcmal Atatiirk, could venture in Turkey 
to impose upon all male Ottoman subjects the brimmed hat which, in 
Muslim eyes, was the Frankish gyaour’s characteristic mark of the beast . 1 
In the new-model Egyptian army, Mehmed 'All likewise abolished the 
turban , 3 and even went to the Petrine length of forbidding the wearing 
of beards ; 4 but the uniform which he devised for his troops was modelled, 
not on Western military uniforms, but on the more congenial contem- 

C orary dress of Rumeliot Turkish Muslim civilians . 3 All the same, 
lehmed 'All found it advisable to grant high rates of pay to senior 
officers, as an antidote to the repugnance which was aroused in Turkish 
souls by even the moderately Western style of the new-model army in 
Egypt . 6 

In Mahmud’s Turkish army the officers were paid less and the privates 
more . 7 In Egypt a Turkish officer enjoyed a rarity value, as the native 
Egyptians did not prove to make good officers , 8 while they did provide 
an abundant supply of conscript private soldiers. The Egyptian peasant 
conscript was perhaps better off in the Army than in his village . 9 The 
Egyptian troops were well fed 10 and were pronounced by a Western 
observer to fare no worse than their contemporary fellow soldiers in the 


which he experienced at their hands’ (Memorandum of M. Alexander Pisani’s report 
of his interview with Ibrahim Pasha at Kyutahiyeh, dated the 10th March, 1833 | 7 ), en¬ 
closed in F.O. 78/209, Canning to Palmerston, [#] 12,7th March, 1832, quoted in Bailey, 
F. E.: British Polity and the Turkish Reform Movement, A Study in Anglo-Turkish 
Relations, 1826-1853 (Cambridge. Mass. 1942, Harvard University Press), p. 172, 
n. 153). 

1 The non-Westcm origin of the fez, which was its merit in Muslim eyes, did not 
make it a specifically Islamic head-dress. It was an ancient Mediterranean article of 
apparel—identical with the Roman freedman’s pilleus—and it had been taken over by 
Arabic-speaking Mediterranean Muslims without ever having been abandoned by 
Greek-speaking Mediterranean Orthodox Christians. 

* Sec p. 237, above, and V. vi. 102-3. Among Egyptian Muslims in Mehmed 'All’s day 
the feeling against hats—and especially against hats with brims—was so strong that 
the expression ‘I will take the hat’ was used with the meaning 'I will stick at nothing’ 
(Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. 362). 

J The date of this negative revolution in Egyptian military headgear was about A.D. 
1823 (Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. 362). A hundred and twenty-four years later, the 
turban was still part of the full-dress uniform of the last British officers to serve in Indian 
cavalry regiments (see p. 228, n. 2, above). 

* See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. 368. Beards were still highly prized by the Egyptian 
peasantry, and the story of a peasant conscript’s grievance sgainst a village headman 
{shaykh-al-balad) who had caused the conscript’s beard to be shaved will be found ibid., 
p. 369. 

J See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. 363. No doubt the moral of an unwillingly con¬ 
scripted Egyptian fallah-soldier was raised by the exhilarating experience of finding 
himself clad in the dress of the imperial people with whom, in civil life, he could never 
have ventured to equate himself. 

6 Sec Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 211. 

1 See Bowring, J. : Report on the Commercial Statistics of Syria, dated the 17th July, 
1829 (London 1840, Clowes), p. 27. 

■ See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 214. 

9 See Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. 248. 


•o See Clot-Bcv, op. cit., p. 209. 



246 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
West; 1 and their behaviour to their civilian fellow Egyptians (though 
not their behaviour to the foreign Arabic-speaking civilian population 
of Syria) was exemplary by contrast with the excesses of their predeces¬ 
sors the Mamluks, Janissaries, Dells, and Albanian mercenaries. 2 Broken 
in to Western military discipline and led by Rumcliot Turkish and 
Albanian commanders, they developed a martial spirit, 3 of which they 
gave proof in the Morea in a.d 1825, when they broke the resistance of 
insurgent Greek highlanders who were still formidable even after they 
had turned their arms against one another, and at Nisib on the 24th 
June, 1839, which was perhaps the first occasion since the Battle of 
Kadesh (comtnissum circa 1288 b.c.) in which the peasantry' of the Lower 
Nile Valley had defeated in the field the peasantry of the Anatolian 
Plateau. 4 This military service in Mehmcd ‘All’s army reawakened in 
Egyptian souls a national consciousness which had been stifled ever 
since the Primitive Arab Muslim conquerors of Egypt in the seventh 
century of the Christian Era had snatched out of Egyptian hands the 
political fruits of an eight-hundred-years-long Egyptian struggle against 
Hellenism. 5 

Though Mehmed ‘AH thus gave the first impulse to a latter-day 
Egyptian nationalist movement on a Modern Western pattern, 6 and, at 
the height of his power in the fourth decade of the nineteenth century, 
was in direct or indirect control of all the Arab countries east of Cyrenaica 
and west of ‘Iraq and the Hadhramawt, over an area extending from the 
Libyan desert to the Persian Gulf, this Rumcliot Turk 7 was neither an 

* See Bowring, J.: Report on Egypt and Candia, dated the 27th March, 1839 (London 
1840, Clowe*), p. 52. 

1 See Dodwcll, op. cit., pp. 22S and 256. 

5 See Clot-Bey, op. cit., voL ii, p. 212. 

* An afterwards eminent Prussian officer who was a spectator of the Battle of Nisib 
from the Turkish side formed a low opinion of both the belligerent armies. ‘Hafiz 
Pasha’s army', writes Hellmuth von Moltke {Brie/e Ober Zustdr.de und Begebenheiten in 
der TCrkci (Berlin 1841, Mittler), pp. 405-6). ‘was undoubtedly the best trained, best 
disciplined and best practised army, and at the same time the army with the worst moral, 
that the Porte had ever put into the field.’ In the campaign of a.d. 1829 the Qdniyeh 
and Qaysari corps remained passive and thereby allowed IbrShim Pasha to withdraw 
his garrisons from Cilicia and concentrate them on the battlefield (ibid., p. 384); and, 
immediately after the rout of the Turkish army at Nisib, the retreating Turkish regular 
troops were attacked by their Kurdish fellow soldiers (ibid., p. 397), who had been 
kidnapped to make good the losses in the Turkish ranks and who had had to be treated 
like prisoners of war by their Turkish officers, with whom these non-Turkish-sneaking 
recruits were unable to communicate (ibid., pp. 382-3). While the new-model Western- 
trained Turkish regulars were melting away, the old-fashioned feudal cavalry ( sipdhls ) 
held together (ibid., p. 398). The moral of Ibrahim’s Egyptian regulars was equally low 
(ibid., p. 283). Two Egyptian battalions deserted to the Turks on the very day of the 
Turkish defeat (ibid., p. 398). Nevertheless, Ibrahim won the day—though he could 
muster hardly more than half the Turkish army’s strength—thanks to his superiority 
in artillery and in ability to manoeuvre (ibid., p. 382). 

5 The anti-Macedonian Egyptian nationalist movement of the second century B.c., 
like the anti-Turkish Egyptian nationalist movement of the nineteenth century of the 
Christian Era, was brought to life by the military prowess of a native Egyptian new-model 
army raised and trained by alien rulers (sec V. v. 68). 

6 According to Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 468-9, the Arabs already hated the 
Ottoman domination. 

’ Mehmcd ‘All was born in a.d. i 769 at Kavila (KafidXa, the phonetic equivalent of the 
Attic Greek word xo{>a\f) in the Macedonian dialect of Ancient Greek), the port of the 
Eastern Macedonian tobacco-growing plains watered by the lower course of the River 
Struma (Strymon) and by its right-bank affluent the Anghista (Angitfis). In the four¬ 
teenth century of the Christian Era the city of Serrhes (Siris) in the Struma plain had 
become a stronghold, first of the Serb and then of the ‘Osmanli conquerors of the 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 247 
Egyptian nor a Pan-Arab nationalist; 1 he was an Ottoman patriot whose 
ambition was, not to destroy the Ottoman Empire by carving out of its 
Arab provinces a successor-state for himself and his heirs, but to re¬ 
juvenate the Ottoman Empire 2 by a process of Westernization which was 
to be achieved through a fruitful marriage of his own genius with the 
economic resources of Egypt. If his march on Constantinople had not 
been halted by the intervention of Russia in a.d. 1833 and of Russia, 
Great Britain, the Hapsburg Monarchy, and Prussia in a.d. 1839, he 
might have become the Shogun of a Westernizing Ottoman Empire in 
which an efficiently managed Egypt would have served, as it had once 
served in Augustus’s Roman Empire, to provide an enlightened dictator 
with the material means for carrying out his policy. 3 In an Ottoman 
Empire under Mehmed ‘AH’s administration, the rehabilitation of this 
derelict cldorado in the Nile Valley might have offset the loss, in a.d. 
1774, of a still undeveloped eldorado in the Great Western Bay of the 
Eurasian Steppe, as Carthage had been compensated for the loss of her 
Sicilian dominion in the First Romano-Carthaginian War by Hamilcar 
Barca’s acquisition for her of a greater empire in the Iberian Peninsula. 

Unhappily, not only for Mehmed ‘All’s personal ambitions, but for 
the interests of the Islamic World, the Rumeliot viceroy of Egypt, like 
the Barcide viceroy of Spain, was thwarted by the jealousy of lesser men 4 
in the capital of the tottering empire whose fortunes he was effectively 
retrieving by constructive labours far afield; and an alliance between 
Mehmed ‘All’s personal rivals at Constantinople and a concert of foreign 
Powers who had combined to frustrate the Levantine ambitions of his 
patroness France proved a more effective force, in the international crisis 
of a.d. 1839, than the public feeling in Turkey, and in the Islamic World 
at large, in Mehmed ‘All’s favour. 5 

derelict European province* of an East Roman Empire that had been shattered by Western 
Christian military adventurer* in a.d. 1204. The fertile district* of Serrhe* and Drama 
had been planted thickly with 'Osmanli settlers by Sultan MurSd I; and Mehmed ‘Ali, 
with his blond hair and beard and light chestnut-coloured eyes (Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. 
i, p. lxxv), might well have been a *cion of this stock, though, according to one account 
of his ancestry, hi* family were recent arrivals in Macedonia from Anatolia and were of 
Albanian origin. Mehmed 'Ali himself had started life in the local tobacco trade (Clot- 
Bey, op. cit., vol. i, p. lix) before enlisting as a volunteer in the Ottoman expeditionary 
force that was sent to Egypt in a.d. 1799. Mehmed 'Ali'* first wife, who, like her husband, 
was a Rumeliot, is said to have influenced him (Bowring, op. cit., p. 148). 

1 According to Prokesch-Osten, Count A.: Mehmed Aly, Vixektnig ton Aegypten, 
aus meinem Tagtbuche, 1826-1841 (Vienna 1877, Br*umailcr), PP- 62-03, Mehmed 'Ali 
did not want to found an Arab empire, though in such an enterprise he would have had 
the support of Arab public feeling (cp. Bowring, Report on Eg)pt and Candia , p. 7). 

* This is the opinion of A. B. Clot, the French director of Mehmed ‘All’s army 
medical service (Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 476), snd also of a contemporary Austrian 
diplomatic observer, Count A. Prokesch-Osten (see op. cit., pp. 15 and 120). 

3 See pp. 696-8, below. 

4 Mehmed 'Ali’s arch-enemies at Constantinople in the crisis of A.D. 1839-41 were 
the conservative Grand Vizier Khosrcv Pasha, who was not only opposed on principle 
to Mehmed ‘Ali’s policy of Westernization but bore him a personal grudge for his share 
in Khosrev’s humiliating expulsion from Egypt in a.d. 1803, and a rival Westernizer in 
the person of the French-educated Reslud Pasha, who was transferred from the Otto¬ 
man Embassy in Paris to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Constantinople on the 24th 
January, 1838, by the Khosrcv whom heafterwards supplanted (Prokesch-Osten, op. cit., 
pp. 70 and 134). 

5 On this point, Prokesch-Osten’a testimony deserves consideration, though it must 
be discounted to some extent in view of this witness’s personal bias as an advocate (op. 
cit., p. 105) of the policy of working for a reconciliation between Mehmed ‘Ali and Sultan 



248 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
By the fiat of the Powers, Mehmed ‘All was confined, in the settlement 
of a.d. 1840-1, to the governorship of the Ottoman possessions in the 
Nile Valley; 1 yet, though the Ottoman World was thus disappointed of 
its hopes of political reunion under the auspices of a man of genius, it 
had at least escaped the complete dissolution that had threatened it in and 
after a.d. 1774; 2 and the imposition of peace in a.d. 1840-1 at the cost of 
a permanent political division between Turkey and Egypt did relieve the 
crushing pressure of an armed truce under which the two Ottoman 
Powers had been keeping costly Westernized armies mobilized on a 
remote frontier for six years (a.d. 1833-9) since the Turco-Egyptian 
War of a.d. 1831-3 . 3 The security of Turkey was increased by the terms 
of a protocol of the 13th July, 1841, in which all the Great Powers of the 
day agreed with Turkey that the Straits between the Aegean and the 
Black Sea should be closed to non-Turkish warships of all flags in peace¬ 
time. Thereafter, in the Crimean War (gerebatur a.d. 1853-6), Turkey 
had France, Great Britain, and Sardinia for her allies, instead of having 

Mahmud II’s successor Sultan ‘Abd-al-Mcjid (imprrabat a.d. 1839-61). According 
to Prokcsch-Oaten, Mehmed ‘AH was a convinced Muslim (p. 15); he reckoned, in 
the crisis of A.D. 1839, that Muslim opinion would rally to his support because he had 
shown greater independence than had been shown by the Porte in dealing with the 
Franks (p. 80); and the hopes of the Muslim World were in fact centred on him (p. 121). 
Whatever may have been the feelings of the Islamic World at large, those of some of his 
Turkish fellow countrymen were made manifest in the action of the Turkish fleet, which, 
on the outbreak of war, sailed from the Bosphorus to Alexandria and placed itself at 
Mehmed 'Ali’s disposal. Prokesch-Osten reports that after the Turkish fleet’s arrival 
at Alexandria on the 17th July, 1839, Mehmed 'Ali gave the officers an address in which 
his theme was the need for fraternal unity among Muslims and the consequent duty of 
loyalty to Sultan 'Abd-al-Mcjid (p. 102). On the same occasion he is said to have ex- 

S ressed a wish to come to Constantinople in order to reorganize the Ottoman Empire 
>. 103). On the evidence of the same authority, Turkish public opinion in Constanti¬ 
nople in A.D. 1839 was overwhelmingly on the side of Mehmed 'Ali and against his ad¬ 
versary- the Grand Vizier Khosrev; and the partisans of the Viceroy of Egypt included 
the Sultan’s mother (pp. iu-ia). When Khosrev appealed for a second time to the 
Powers, other Turkish grandees were moved to indignation (pp. 117 and 119). 

1 The P&dishah’s two firmans of the 13th February, 1841, conferred the Pashalyq 
of Egypt on Mehmed 'Ali and his heirs (on terms that were strictly defined), and the 
governorship of Mehmed 'Ali’s own conquests in the Sudan on Mehmed 'Ali himself 
for life. 

* It has already been noticed, on pp. 230-41, above, that the portions of Dfir-al-IslSm 
that had come under non-Muslim rule between A.D. 1774 and A.D. 1952 were a remark¬ 
ably small fraction of the whole. The immediate threat to the Ottoman Empire's exis¬ 
tence on the morrow of the signature of the Russo-Turkish peace treaty of KtlchQk 
Qaynarja came from the pullulation of incipient parochial successor-states; and, among 
these, the states set up by militant outlying barbarians, such as the Montenegrins, the 
Serbs of the Shumadiya, the Maniots, the Kurds, and the Wahhabis, were less menacing 
than those set up in the metropolitan provinces by insubordinate Ottoman Muslim 
war-lords such as Pasvanoghlu of Viddin and 'Ali of Yannina in Rumelia, and the Qira 
'OsmUnoghlu and a host of lesser derc beys in an Anatolia whose Muslim Turkish 

S alation had never quite forgotten the days before the Ottoman conquest of the non- 
>man Turkish successor-state* of the Saljuqs (sec II. ii. 150-4). These Ottoman 
war-lords built up their power by hiring war-bands of Muslim barbarian mercenaries— 
Albanians, Bosniaks, and Maghribis—and they were a greater menace than the recal¬ 
citrant tribesmen in Rumelia, Arabia, and Kurdistan because there were no national 
limits to the war-lords’ capacity for territorial expansion at the expense of the authority 
of the Porte. By a.d. 1840-1 these internal dangers had been weathered by the Ottoman 
Empire at the cost of having been constrained to recognize the autonomy of Mehmed 
'All in the Nile Valley and of a Serbian principality in the Lower Morava Valley and the 
independence of a Kingdom of Greece within modest frontiers. The Turkish new-model 
army, inefficient though it still was had succeeded in reimposing the Porte’s authority 
on the Kurds, while the Wahhabis had been temporarily crushed by Mehmed ‘Ali on 
the Porte’s behalf (see IV. iv. 76-78). 

J This point is made by Moltke, op. cit., pp. 381 and 401. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 249 
to fight Russia again single-handed, and in the ensuing peace-settlcmcnt 
of Paris she was formally admitted into the Western comity of nations. 


The Collapse in Turkey and Egypt at the Beginning of the Last Quarter of 
the Nineteenth Century 

Thus the dose of Westernization that had been administered by 
Ottoman statesmanship to Turkey and Egypt since a.d. 1774 had 
enabled both these Ottoman politics by the middle of the nineteenth 
century to surmount the crisis into which the Ottoman World had been 
plunged by the Russo-Turkish War that had broken out in a.d. 1768. 
Yet, towards the turn of the eighth and ninth decades of the nineteenth 
century, both Mahmud II’s Turkey and Mehmed ‘All’s Egypt col¬ 
lapsed. Why was it that, within twenty years of the signature of the 
Peace Treaty of Paris in a.d. 1856, both Turkey and Egypt had fallen 
into adversity again ? 

One cause of this simultaneous collapse of the two temporarily re¬ 
juvenated Ottoman Powers was the cumulative effect of a strain imposed 
by the maintenance of professional fighting forces on a Western pattern 
in a society whose life had not yet been Westernized through and through. 
The consequent increase in government expenditure was not balanced 
by any increase of a comparable order of magnitude in the national in¬ 
come through a Westernization of methods of economic production; so 
far from that, the productivity of the peasantry was reduced by the 
devastating effects on work, health, and morals of the introduction of the 
recently invented Modern Western institution of military conscription ; 1 
and in Egypt, where Mehmed ‘All had embarked on an ambitious pro¬ 
gramme of industrial as well as agricultural development that had not 
been emulated in Turkey by Sultan Mahmud, a chartered accountant’s 
balance sheet would probably have shown that these enterprises were 
running at a loss . 2 A growing gap between public expenditure and 


» See IV. iv. >50-2. 

* Arguments on both sides of the question whether Mehmed 'Ali’s attempt to in¬ 
dustrialize Egypt was justified economically arc set out by Clot-Bey, op. cit., vol. ii, 
pp. 278-9. The adverse judgements in Bowring’s report should perhaps be taken with a 
grain of salt in view of Prokesch-Osten’s insinuation (op. cit., pp. 82-83) that the British 
did not relish the competition of Egyptian manufactures with theirs in the markets of 
the Islamic World. Yet Bowring was probably correct in stating (op. cit., p. 15) that the 

S ipulation of Egypt was impoverished by the monopolies through which Mehmed 'Ali’s 
ovemment attempted to make its economic enterprises pay their way. He also states 
(op. cit., p. 29) that the cotton textile and other Egyptian governmental industries were 
compelled to sell their product to the consumer at an unremunerativc price in order to 
compete with imported Western goods which were free to enter Egypt subject to pay¬ 
ment of duty at the rate of 3 per cent, ad valorem (the maximum chargeable under the 
current terms of the Ottoman Capitulations). Bowring declares that the effective maxi¬ 
mum was still lower than this. If Bowring is correct on this point too, that would, of 
course, tell against Prokesch-Ostcn’s view that Egyptian industries were regarded, in 
British eyes, as a serious menace to British exports. All the same, we know for a fact 
that the British Government had in mind Mehmed ’Ali’s policy of state-promoted 
industrialization fortified by monopolies when it negotiated with the Porte the Anglo- 
Turkish commercial treaty of the 16th August, 1828, in which the maximum of 3 per 
cent, ad valorem for Ottoman import duties was confirmed. The terms of this treaty were, 
of course, applicable to all Ottoman territories, including Egypt: but the Egyptian, 
unlike the Turkish, Government managed to abandon its monopolies in form without 
ceasing to enjoy them in effect (see Moseley, P. E.: Russia* Diplomacy and the Opening 
of the Eastern Question in 1838 and 1830 (Cambridge, Mast., 1934, Harvard University 
Press), p. ior; Bailey, F. E.: British Policy and the Turkish Reform Movement, A Study in 



250 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
revenue was momentarily bridged by the Turkish and Egyptian Govern¬ 
ments’ fatal discovery of the nineteenth-century Western money market. 
Loans contracted, with the light-hearted ness of ignorance, on exorbitant 
terms for non-reproductive purposes brought both governments to 
bankruptcy within two or three decades. 

A second cause of collapse was the burden of holding down territories 
in which a majority of the population was disaffected. Turkey had in¬ 
herited from her own past the problem of Rumclia; she had reimposed 
on herself the burden of Ottoman Kurdistan by re-establishing her 
authority there in a.d. 1835-50, 1 and the burden of the Asiatic Arab 
provinces by suppressing the 'Iraqi Mamluks in a.d. 1831 2 and by avail¬ 
ing herself of the support of four Great Powers to recover Syria from 
Mehmed 'All in a.d. 1840 and the Hijaz in a.d. 1845. As for Mehmed 
‘All, he had deliberately saddled Egypt with a new empire which was 
as intractable as it was unremunerative by overthrowing the Wahhabi 
Power in Arabia in a.d. 1810-18 and embarking on the conquest of the 
Sudan in a.d. 1820. Sultan Selim I, the Ottoman conqueror of Syria 
and Egypt in the heyday of Ottoman power, had never attempted this 
foolhardy feat of launching out on to the Afrasian Steppe; and, though 
Egypt was relieved of her Arabian commitment by the revolt of the 
Najd circa a.d. 1830 3 and the subsequent re-establishment of Turkey’s 
in place of Egypt’s suzerainty over the Hijaz, Mehmed ‘Ali’s successors 
at Cairo continued to push their southern and south-western frontiers 
forward into the heart of Africa till the Egyptian Government's Silesian 
representative Emin Pasha had carried the Egyptian flag to Uganda 
in a.d. 1877, four years before the whole house of cards was brought 
tumbling down in a.d. 1881-5 by the insurrection of the Sudanese 
Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad. 4 

The most serious of all these Ottoman problems of disaffected popula¬ 
tions was Turkey’s problem in Rumelia, where she had to deal, not, like 
Egypt in the Sudan, with Nomads and primitive peoples in an outlying 
hinterland, but with a subject Orthodox Christian majority geographi¬ 
cally intermingled with a dominant Turkish minority which had likewise 
been at home in Rumelia since the establishment of the Ottoman Empire 
in the fourteenth century of the Christian Era. 

After the turn of the tide in a.d. 1683 ' n the perennial warfare between 
the ‘Osmanlis and the Western Powers, the destinies of the Ottoman 
Empire depended above all on the ability of the Turkish ‘ascendancy’ in 
Rumclia to conciliate its Orthodox Christian fellow countrymen and 
fellow subjects of the Porte. The Orthodox Christian peoples’ greater 
dislike for Frankish than for Ottoman rule had made the Ottoman 
Empire’s fortune in the days of its rise, 5 and, now that it had passed its 
zenith, its decline might at least have been retarded if Ottoman Orthodox 


Attglo-Turkish Relations, 1826-18S 3 (Cambridge, Mass., 1942, Harvard University 
Press}, p. 124, n. 109). 

1 Sec Longricg, S. H.: Four Centuries 0f Modem 'Iraq (Oxford 1925, Clarendon 
Press), pp. 284-8. 

1 See Loncrigg, op. cit., pp. 250-76. 

5 See V. w. 233, with n. 5. 

* See V. v. 295, with n. 1. 


* See pp. 151-2, above. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 251 

Christians could have been induced to join with Ottoman Muslims in a 
common anti-Frankish front. 

On the morrow of the turn of the tide, the possibility of establishing 
some such common front was greater than at any later date, since at that 
time the Modern West was only just beginning to exert its attraction on 
Ottoman Orthodox Christian souls, 1 and the Grand Vizier Mustafa 
Kdprttlu was not slow in seeing and seizing this opportunity. In a.d. 
1691, only eight years after the Ottoman retreat from before the walls of 
Vienna and three years after the Hapsburg armies’ incursion into 
Kosovo, he promulgated the first charter of constitutional rights for the 
non-Muslim subjects of the Porte. But the Niz 3 m-i-Jcdid of a . d . 1691 
did not go far enough, even on paper, to rally the ra'iyeh with conviction 
to the support of their discomfited Ottoman masters, and, even as far 
as it went, it remained largely a dead letter owing to a decadent Imperial 
Government’s loss of effective control over the provinces. By the time 
when that control had been recovered in the course of the reign of Sultan 
Mahmud II (imperabat a.d. 1808-39), the price of the ra'iyeh'$ loyalty 
to the Porte had risen sharply. By that time the ra'iyeh had become 
hardened cultural converts to the secular civilization of the Modern 
West; this civilization had given birth to the political ideals of the year 
1789; and, in the Western World itself, the unifying ideal of Parliamen¬ 
tary Democracy had been pressed into the service of the disruptive ideal 
of Nationalism. 2 

Thus, in the nineteenth century of the Christian Era, the political 
atmosphere of a Modern Western World into which the ‘Osmanlis as 
well as their ra'iyeh were now being irresistibly attracted was less auspi¬ 
cious than it had been in the seventeenth century for an Ottoman 
attempt to win the ra'iyeh 's loyalty. A sincere, enlightened, and energetic 
attempt to attain this difficult objective was made, nevertheless, by the 
Ottoman ‘ascendancy’ during its years of grace between the settlement 
of the Egyptian question in a.d. 1841 and the outbreak, in a . d . 1875, j of 
a local revolt of the ra'iyeh in Bosnia which precipitated the break-up of 
the Ottoman Empire in Rumelia within the next three years. 

The monuments of constructive Ottoman statesmanship during this 
critical period are the Westernizing constitutional reforms—known 
collectively as the Tanzlmat—which were inaugurated by Sultan ‘Abd- 
al-Mejld’s promulgation of the Khatt-i-Sherif-i-Giilkhane on the 3rd 
November, 1839, 4 and were crowned by Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamid II’s 
promulgation of a short-lived constitution on the 23rd December, 1876. 

» See pp. 161-5. above. * See IV. iv. 156-85. 

J The revolt in Bosnia in July 1875 had been preceded by two year* (a.d. 1873-5) 
of famine and financial collapse, so that the spell of political fine weather which had 
begun in A.D. 1841 virtually came to an end at the death of Melimed Emin ‘All Pasha 
in a.d. 1871. Sec Davison, Rodcric H.: Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856-1876 
(thesis submitted to Harvard University for the degree of Ph.D., lit April, 1941), p- 
298. (The author had kindly permitted the writer of this Study to read and cite a type¬ 
script copy of this work which was deposited in the library- of Harvard University. In 
May 1952 Dr. Davison’s book was in process of revision with a view to publication.) 

4 The Khatt of the 3rd November, 1839, "*3 reaffirmed in another Khait of the iSth 
February, 1856, which was incorporated in Article 9 of the Paris Peace Treaty of the 
30th March, 1856. The points of likeness and difference between these two charters 
are pointed out by Davison, op. cit., pp. 34 ~ 35 - 



252 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Sultan Mahmud II’s life-work had been to rid the Ottoman Empire 
of the usurpers—Janissaries in the capital, dere beys in Anatolia and 
Rumelia, and tribal chiefs in Arabia, Kurdistan, and Albania—who had 
stridden into the political vacuum created by the decay of the Padishah’s 
Slave-Household since the later decades of the sixteenth century of the 
Christian Era. The immediate effect of Mahmud’s successful execution 
of this task had been a concentration in the Sultan's hands of an auto¬ 
cratic power which he had used mainly for Westernizing the Army, on 
the lines indicated above, to the neglect of corresponding reforms in the 
civilian sphere. The common aim of the liberal Westernizing Ottoman 
Turkish Muslim statesmen of the post-Mahmudian Age was to carry out 
Mahmud’s still unaccomplished work by converting the Ottoman 
Empire into a Rechtsstaat 1 whose subjects of all religions and nationali¬ 
ties would be secured so full a measure of equality before the law, accord¬ 
ing to the standards attained in the enlightened Western states of the 
day, that the ra'iyeh would lose their desire to secede for the purpose of 
founding or joining separate national states of their own. 

This policy was progressively put into effect by four eminent states¬ 
men in three successive stages. The author of the Khatt of a.d. 1839 was 
Mustafa Mchmed Reshid Pasha* (vivebat a.d. i8o2(?)-58), a critic of 
Sultan Mahmud who had gained his own experience in diplomacy—in 
London and Paris as well as at Kyutahiyeh and Constantinople—during 
the years a.d. 1833-9. 3 After the Crimean War ( gerebalur a.d. 1853-6), 
Reshld’s work was carried on by his two pupils and critics Mehmed 
Emin ‘All Pasha ( vivebat a.d. 1815-71) and Mehmed Kccheji-zadc 
Fu’ad Pasha (vivebat a.d. 1815-69)— a pair of Ottoman statesmen who 
were honourably distinguished by their exemplary cooperation with one 
another in practising the art of hastening slowly. Under the auspices of 
‘All and Fu’ad, Midhat Pasha (vivebat a.d. 1822-84) performed marvel¬ 
lous pioneer work in applying the ideals of the Tanzimat to the problems 
of Ottoman provincial administration; but, when, after the deaths of his 
pair of predecessors, Midhat took over their responsibilities at the centre 
of government, he failed to show their tact and judgement in grappling 
with a more formidable crisis in Ottoman affairs than they had ever been 
required to face. 

Midhat 4 was the son of an Ottoman official of Pomak origin 5 and per¬ 
haps also of BektashI proclivities. 6 He was born at Ruschuk and grew 
up at Lofcha (Loved), Viddin, and Constantinople. 7 He entered the 
Ottoman public service at the age of fourteen in a.d. 1836, 8 but found 

* Sec Bailey, op. cit., pp. 185-6. 

1 The Khatt of the 3rd November, 1839, was to a large extent a reproduction of a 
memorandum communicated by Reshid to Palmerston on the 12th August, 1839 
(Bailey, op. cit., pp. 185-6 and 271-6). 

1 Sec Bailey, op. cit., p. 181. 

* For Midhat’s career see Davison, op. cit.; Babingcr, Fr., s.v. 'Midhat Pasha’, in 

the Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. iii (Leyden 1936, Brill), pp. 481-2; (Antoine, Louis! 
'L6ou2on-!e-Duc’: Midhat Pacha (Paris 1877, Dentu); Midhat, ‘Ali Haydar (Midhat 
Pasha’a son): The Life of Midhat Pasha (London 1903. John Murray); eundem: Midhat 
Pasha: Hayat-i-Siyasiycsi, Khidmdti, Menfd HaySli (Constantinople, A. H. 1325 — a.d. 
1909, Hiial Pres*, 2 vols.). * See Davison, op. cit., p. 196. 

6 Sec Davison, op. cit., p. 197; Babmger, op. cit.. p. 481. 

7 Sec Babingcr, op. cit., loc. cit. * See Babinger, op. cit., loc. cit. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 253 

an opportunity later in his career, in a.d. 1858, of spending six months 
in the West and visiting Vienna, Paris, Brussels, and London. 1 Midhat 
made his mark in the field of provincial administration, where Sultan 
Mahmud II had cleared the ground by sweeping away the host of local 
usurpers who had been on the verge of carving the Ottoman Empire into 
successor-states, but had left to his own heirs on the Ottoman imperial 
throne the task of building up a new system of local government, on 
Western lines, through which the Porte could exercise and maintain its 
recaptured authority over the Sultan’s hereditary dominions. In succes¬ 
sive tenures of provincial governorships in different quarters of the 
Ottoman Empire, including not only Rumelia but ‘Iraq, Midhat worked 
out, and applied with conspicuous personal success, a dual policy which 
was taken by the Porte as the basis for a general reorganization of Otto¬ 
man provincial administration. With one hand he took action to make 
the Ottoman regime not only tolerable but attractive to Ottoman subjects 
of all communities by fostering mixed provincial councils, 2 mixed 
schools, technical education, and public works, especially for the im¬ 
provement of communications. With the other hand he was equally 
vigorous in suppressing Panslavism and other forms of separatism and 
in maintaining law and order. 5 

Midhat came to the front in a.d. 1854, when he was entrusted with 
the task of restoring order in a Rumelia where repercussions of the 
Crimean War were making themselves felt among the Slav Orthodox 
Christian majority of the local population. 4 He distinguished himself 
there by his success in suppressing unrest and brigandage and in settling 
Circassian refugees from the Russian conquest of the North-Western 
Caucasus. 5 After returning to the Grand Council of the Empire at 
Constantinople, which he had already served as its Second Secretary, 
and winning the esteem of the representatives of Turkey’s allies, 6 he 
was appointed in a.d. 1857 to be governor of Viddin and Silistria; 7 and 
thereafter, after visiting Western Europe 8 and serving the Grand Council 
as its First Secretary, 9 he served during the years a.d. 1861—3 as governor 
of a special province comprising the three Rumelian districts of Nish, 
t)skiib, and Prizren 10 —a delicate task, since the Orthodox Christians in 
the local population were Serb fellow tribesmen of the people of the 
adjoining autonomous principality of Serbia and independent statelet of 
Montenegro. In this special province Midhat worked for the establish¬ 
ment of genuinely representative institutions of local self-government, 
for a just redistribution of taxation, and for material improvements that 
would benefit the inhabitants without distinction of religion or national¬ 
ity.” His success here led to his being commissioned to advise and assist 


* See Babinger, op. dt, loc. dt.; Davison, op. at, p. x 97 I Antoine, op. at, pp. 29 

and 2?' . 

- These had been envisaged in the Khatt of a.d. 1839 (Davison, op. at., pp. 27-28). 
1 See Davison, op. dt., pp. 198-20x. 

* See Babinger, op. dt, p. 481. 

* See Antoine, od. cit,.pp. 20-21.. 6 See ibid., p. 22. 

? See ibid., p. 26; Babinger, op. cit., p. 481. 

* See above. » Sec Antoine, op. cit., p. 30. 

«° See ibid., p. 30; Davison, op. dt, p. 189; Babinger, op. cit., p. 481. 

»* See Antoine, op. cit, pp. 32 - 34 - 



254 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
Fu’Sd and ‘All Pashas in the drafting of a standard law 1 to regulate the 
administration of provinces (vilayets) on the lines of his own practice, 2 
and then being appointed, in a.d. 1864, to apply this new law in another 
special province composed of the three Rumclian districts of Nish, 
Viddin, and Silistria. 3 In this province in three years (a.d. 1864-7) Mid¬ 
hat built 3,000 kilometres of roads, 1,400 bridges, and three polytechnics: 
one at Nish, one at Ruschuk, and one at Sofia. 4 

Since a.d. 1858, Midhat had had the advantage of knowing something 
of the West as well as Turkey at first hand, 5 and he was opposed to 
mechanical imitations not suited to local conditions. 6 Perhaps his chief 
strength was his courage in acting on his own initiative. 7 But his virtues, 
signal though they were, were pitted against formidable adverse forces. 
Though his policy of translating the classical Ottoman millet system 
into Modern Western terms was the most humane and enlightened pro¬ 
gramme that could have been devised for improving the lot of a mixed 
population of diverse creeds and nationalities, this aim did not appeal to 
the Rumcliot Orthodox Christians of his generation, whose hearts were 
already set on becoming citizens of national states of a type represented 
in embryo by the contemporary Kingdom of Greece and Principality of 
Serbia; and in these disruptive ambitions they were encouraged by 
Russia, who was eager to go on fishing in troubled Rumelian waters. 
Moreover, this attitude or the disaffected ra'iyeh and their foreign 
instigators was largely justified by an unwillingness on the part of the 
Muslim ‘ascendancy’ in Rumelia to waive its historic privileges, and on 
the part of the conservatives at the Porte to commit themselves sincerely 
and wholeheartedly to a policy of transforming the Ottoman Empire into 
a commonwealth genuinely guaranteeing full equality before the law, 
in the Modern Western sense of that ideal, to all its subjects without 
religious discrimination. 

The constitutional issue thus raised in nineteenth-century Turkey by 
the scandal of a traditional discrimination against a non-Muslim majority 
in the population of Rumelia gave rise to a corresponding issue within 
the bosom of the ruling community itself; for the Muslim, including the 
Turkish Muslim, subjects of the Porte, as well as the ra'iyeh, were 
sufferers from a misgovernment that had its root in the Ottoman practice 
of Islamic political theory. 8 As the point was put by Midhat Pasha 
himself: 

‘In the past our ruling idea was to satisfy Europe in Turkey in order 
to keep Turkey in Europe. To-day our aspirations and our labours to 
achieve reform spring from an impulse within ourselves, from thoughts 
that are our own, and from an activity that is native to our country.’ 9 

* This law of the Vilayets was promulgated in November 1864, and was revised in 
a.d. 1867 and a.d. 1870. By a.d. 1868 the whole of the Ottoman Empire except 'Iriq 
and the Yaman had been reorganized into provinces on the new pattern (Davison, op. 
cit., pp. 189-90, 203, and 206; Kramers, J. H., s.v. 'Tanzim&t [-i-Khayriych]', in the 
Encyclopaedia oj Itlam, vol. iv (Leyden 1934, Brill), p. 659). 

* Sec Antoine, op. cit., p. 35. J See ibid., p. 29. 

4 Sec ibid., p. 40. » See p. 253, above. 

* See Antoine, op. cit., p. 57. < » See ibid., p. 44. 

3 This point is emphasized by Davison in op. cit., p. v. 

9 Midhat Pasha, quoted by Antoine, op. cit., pp. 57-58. 


THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 


255 


Accordingly, the outbreak in a.d. 1875 of an insurrection of the Serb 
Orthodox Christians in Herzegovina, where there was acute tension 
between the local ra'iyeh and a local Muslim 'ascendancy' consisting of 
ex-Bogomil native Slav landlords, raised the question of constitutional 
government for Turkish Muslim Ottoman subjects as well as the ques¬ 
tion of political independence for Rumeliot Orthodox Christians still 
under Ottoman rule, and, when, in this crisis, Midhat, instead of being 
sent to Herzegovina by the Porte, was appointed in August 1875 t0 be > 
for the second time, Minister of Justice, he resigned in November 1875 
and went into opposition. He was marked out for becoming the leader 
of the ‘New 'Osmanlis’; 1 for in a.d. 1867 he had been recalled from his 
Danubian province to Constantinople 1 to be President of a new Imperial 
Council of State 3 (fungebatur a.d. 1868-9) ant *> since then, he had been 
governor of the provinces of Baghdad 4 (fungebatur a.d. 1869-72) and 
Salonica* (fungebatur October 1873-February 1874) and—for a spell of 
three months (1st August-i9th October, 1872)—Grand Vizier. 6 

In the movement for constitutional government on Western lines 
that was now coming to a head within the bosom of the Ottoman 
Turkish community, 7 an agitation was started on the 7th May, 1876, by 
the Muslim theological students (‘softas’) 8 in Constantinople, and during 

* The origins of the ‘New ‘Osmanlis’ (Tureici ‘Ycni ’Osmanlilar’, mistranslated into 
French as 'Jeunes Turcs’, according to Davison, op. cit., p. 277) are obscure (ibid., 
p. 279). The fathers of the movement were men of letters not employed in the Ottoman 
government service (pp. 217-18)—Ibrahim Shinisi (pp. 230-5), Nfimyq Kcmal fpp. 
235—41). Ziyfi (pp. 241-8), and the ‘Zcalot’-mindcd Central Asian Turk ‘Ali Su'avi (pp. 
250-2)—who were, all alike, independent publicists, language reformers, and patriots, 
but in other respects were very diverse (p. 253). Their first revolt was against the classical 
Ottoman Turkish literary style, which was remote from the living language of the day, 
but by a.d. 1865 they were already advocating constitutional government for Turkey 
in the Western style (p. 280), and in a.d. 1867 they joined with three pashas in publishing 
a criticism of the withdrawal of the Ottoman garrisons from Serbia and thereby incurred 
the displeasure of ‘Alt Pasha (pp. 21C-16 and 218). There was, indeed, an abortive con¬ 
spiracy in a.d. 1867 against 'All and Fu’fid’s regime (p. 282). In consequence, Namyq 
Kcmil, Ziyfi, and ‘Ali Su'avi had to flee to Paris, whither ShinSsi had preceded them 
in a.d. 1864 on a second visit (Shinfisi had been sent there for the first time in a.d. 
1843 at the age of seventeen by Sultan 'Abd-al-Mejid and had taken part there in the 
revolution of a.d. 1848 before coming home in a.d. 1851). The four 'New ‘Osmanli’ 
leaders were unable to return to Turkey till after the death of ‘Ali Pasha in A.D. i 87 ». 
Nfimyq Kcmfil was banished from Constantinople to Cyprus on account of the sensation 
created by the production, in a.d. 1873, of his patriotic play Vdtdn, yahud Silistert 
(pp. ? 92 - 6 ). . 

* See Antoine, op. cit., p. 74. 

1 This Council of State, which was created by dividing the existing Grand Council 
of the Empire (alias ‘Tanzimat Council’) into a Council of State and a High Court of 
Justice (sec Kramers, J. H., s.v. ‘Tanzimat [-i-Khayriych]’, in the Encyclopaedia of 
Islam, vol. iv (Leyden 1934, Brill), p. 657). "as duly organized on a model that was 
French except in one crucial point in which there was no analogy between the political 
circumstances in the France and in the Turkey of Midhat’s day. In the Turkey of a.d. 
1867 the seats on the Council had to be distributed between the different communities 
of which the population of the Ottoman Empire was composed, and the non-Muslim 
communities were flagrantly under-represented (according to Davison, op. cit., pp. 303- 
4, they were given 13 seats out of 50; according to Antoine, op. cit., p. 75, they were 
given 3 scats out of 16). 

* See Antoine, op. cit., pp. 80-8x. In his governorship of Baghdad, Midhat achieved 
results second only to those achieved by him in the Danube Province in a.d. 1864-7. 

s See ibid., p. 88. . , 4 See ibid., p. 88. 

’ The Turkish community had been alienated from the existing regime by the famine 
of a.d. 1873-4, which had been worst in the Turkish-inhabited areas of the Empire, 
e.g. in Central Anatolia (Davison, op. cit., pp. 401-2). 

3 Sec Davison, op. cit., pp. 432-31 Midhat, 'AH Haydar JMidhat Pasha s son]: The 
Life of Midhat Pasha (London 1903, John Murray), p. 8t. Since the extirpation of the 



256 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
the night of the 29th~3oth May the reigning sultan ‘Abd-al-‘AzIz was 
deposed on the strength of a fetvd (legal opinion) 1 rendered by the 
revolutionary clerics’ 2 leader Khayrallah, whose followers’ demonstra¬ 
tions on the ioth and nth May had prevailed upon the intimidated 
Sultan to appoint him Sheykh-el-IslSm (chief of the Islamic religious 
jurisconsults in the Ottoman Empire). From that date Midhat was 
virtually in power—though it was not till the 18th December, 1876, that 
he became Grand Vizier for the second time—and a constitution was 
duly promulgated by Sultan ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz’s second successor 3 Sultan 
‘Abd-al-Hamid on the 23rd December of the same year; but this 
gleam of light had no sooner shone out than it was eclipsed by a deluge 
of disasters. 

The Herzegovinian insurgents had been neither pacified nor sup¬ 
pressed; Montenegro and Serbia had gone to war with Turkey on their 
behalf; a conference of representatives of the Powers which had 
assembled in Constantinople to try to restore peace ignored the new 
Ottoman Constitution and failed to fulfil its own mission; the victory of 
Russia in a new Russo-Turkish war (gerebatur a.d. 1877-8) cut down 
the Ottoman dominions in Rumclia to a remnant that was no longer 
permanently tenable, even after the Great Bulgaria of the original Russo- 
Turkish peace treaty of San Stefano (pactum 3rd March, 1878) had been 
pared down and split in two by the terms of the revisionary peace treaty 
of Berlin {pactum 13th July, 1878); the administration of six sources of 
public revenue from indirect taxation was handed over by the Ottoman 
Government to an international council of foreign bondholders on the 
20th December, 1881; and, meanwhile, Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamid had 
established his autocratic control over what remained of the Ottoman 
Empire’s territory and sovereignty by dismissing the undiplomatic 
constitutionalist Midhat Pasha from office on the 5th February, 1877, 
and suspending the constitution itself on the 14th February, 1878. 
After a cat-and-mouse persecution, the Ottoman protagonist of a 
Modern Western constitutionalism was tried and convicted in May 

Januaries in a.d. 1826 the softas had taken over the Janissaries’ traditional role of serving 
as the principal political ‘pressure group’ in the capital of the Empire. (In a sense, the 
'ClemS were the Janissaries’ heirs by right of conquest; for their secession from the 
camp of reaction to the camp of reform had been the decisive change in the Ottoman 
domestic political situation which had made it possible for Sultan MahmQd II to suc¬ 
ceed in an enterprise which had proved too difficult for hi* predecessor Sultan Selim III). 
In a.d. 1853 the softas had agitated for war against Russia, and in a.d. 1876 it was again 
their anti-Russian feeling that moved them to support the constitutionalists (Davison, 
op. cit., pp. 430 -ih They were brought into the constitutionalist camp by a leading 
'Slim, Khayrallah Efendi (ibid., p. 426). 

1 Sec Davison, op. cit., p. 436; Midhat, op. cit, p. 83. 

3 To minds attuned to Modem Western social and constitutional history, the spectacle 
of clerics taking the lead in a movement for political reform on liberal lines would per¬ 
haps be still more surprising than to see military officers playing this part. The liberalism 
of these nineteenth-century Ottoman 'khojas' had the same origin as the liberalism of 
their contemporaries in the Ottoman Army. Their profession required that they should 
be educated; and an education in the traditional Islamic theology and literature enlarged 
the mind, even though it did not lead so directly to Western 'dangerous thoughts’ as 
the technical education of the new-model Ottoman military officers. 

’ On the authority of another fetvd from the Sheykh-el-Islim, Khayrallah, ‘Abd-al- 
‘Aziz’s successor Murad V had been replaced in his turn, on the 31st August, 1876, 
on the ground that he was mentally deranged, by his astutely perverse-minded brother 
‘Abd-al-Hamid II. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 257 
1881 on a preposterous charge of having murdered the deposed Sultan 
'Abd-al-'Aziz 1 and was banished to Ta’if in the Hijaz to be murdered 
there by ‘Abd-al-Hamld’s orders . 2 

Simultaneously, Egypt was overwhelmed by a comparable concatena¬ 
tion of catastrophes. In a.d. 1876 she paid the penalty for her rulers’ 
financial improvidence by forfeiting her financial autonomy to an inter¬ 
national Cause de la Dette, and in a.d. 1882 an Egyptian nationalist 
movement, whose programme was to rescue Egypt from the financial 
control of foreign creditors by bringing the incompetent Turkish auto¬ 
cracy of the Khedive under the constitutional control of the Egyptian 
people, was crushed by the armed intervention of a single foreign Power. 
The leader of the Egyptian nationalists, Ahmad ‘Ar 5 bl Pasha, suffered 
Midhat Pasha’s political fate of being dismissed from office, tried, con¬ 
victed, and sent into exile, 3 and the British expeditionary force remained 
in occupation in Egypt. Its presence there enabled the British Govern¬ 
ment to brin^ the finances—and, with them, the administration—of 
Egypt under its own paramount control, but did not avail to save the 
Sudan, south of Wadi Halfah, from being lost to Egypt through the 
insurrection of the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad in a.d. 1881-5. 

It will be seen that the ingredients of the cup of wrath were the same 
for both Egypt and Turkey, but they were mixed in different brews which 
had diverse effects on the patients in the next chapters of their histories. 

In Turkey’s catastrophe the insurrection of a disaffected Rumeliot 
subject population was the occasion of the other tribulations, whereas 
in Egypt’s catastrophe the insurrection in the Sudan was their conse¬ 
quence. In Egypt the troubles began with the imposition of foreign 
financial control, whereas in Turkey a partial loss of financial sovereignty 
was the aftermath of insurrection and war. As for the Egyptian nationalist 
movement of which ‘Ar 5 bl Pasha was at least the nominal leader, it was 
comparable to the contemporary nationalist movements among the 
Rumeliot Orthodox Christians inasmuch as, like these, it was a revolt 
of a non-Turkish subject population against a local Turkish ‘ascendancy’. 
The revolt in Egypt was initiated by Arab officers of an Egyptian Army 
which was still officered predominantly by Turks and Albanians. At 
the same time, this movement headed by ‘ArabI at Cairo in a.d. 1882 
resembled the movement led by Midhat at Constantinople in a.d. 1876 
in expressing, not a will to secede, but a demand, emanating from the 
Muslim people of the country, for the replacement of an inefficient 
autocracy by a parliamentary constitutional regime of the contemporary 
Western pattern. 

The Failure of the Arabs to Respond to a Continuing Challenge of Western 
Aggression 

Both constitutional movements were suppressed; but their suppres¬ 
sion was accomplished by different means in the two cases, and this 

1 See Babinger, op. at., p. 482. 

* Babingcr, loc. cit.. gives the date of the crime as the 30th April, 1S83; other authori¬ 
ties give divers dates (c.g. the 8th May and the 8th Julv) in a.d. 1884. 

2 'Arab! was banished for life to Ceylon, but was allowed to return to Egypt in A.D. 
1901. 


K 


258 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
difference drove the two countries along divergent political courses. In 
Turkey the ‘New ‘Osmanlis’ were suppressed by Sultan 'Abd-al-Hamld 
without recourse to foreign aid, with the result that, for the next thirty- 
one years (a.d. 1877-1908), Turkey was under the yoke of a native auto¬ 
crat. In Egypt, ‘Ar§bi and his partisans were crushed by the armed 
intervention of a Western Power, with the result that for the next 
fifty-four years (a.d. 1882-1936) Egypt was under foreign military 
occupation. In other words, in this next chapter of Ottoman history 
Turkey went through China’s experience while Egypt went through 
India’s. Turkey, like China, preserved for herself the blessing of 
freedom to make her own mistakes at the price of having to endure the 
unmitigated consequences of them, whereas Egypt was afflicted with the 
blight of being managed, rehabilitated, and shielded by alien hands at 
the cost of being debarred, so long as this benevolently stifling unsought 
tutelage lasted, from learning through the suffering that had been found 
to be Man’s one effective school of practical wisdom. 

Thus Egypt had escaped from an uncongenial Turkish domination 
only to become a pawn on the chessboard of Western power politics. 
This nineteenth-century Egyptian experience was shared by other Arab 
countries outside the bounds of the desert and highland fastnesses of the 
Arabian Peninsula itself; and a retrospect of this chapter of these Arab 
countries’ history would lend colour to the view that their weakness had 
been ruthlessly exploited by Modern Western politicians to solve 
Western problems at the Arabs’ expense. 

France, for example, 1 had embarked in A.D. 1830 on the conquest of 
Algeria in compensation for the collapse of a Napoleonic Empire in 
Europe; in a.d. 1881 she had imposed a French protectorate on Tunisia, 
with Bismarck’s blessing, in compensation for her defeat in the Franco- 
German War of a.d. 1870-1; in a.d. 1907-12 she had proceeded, with 
Great Britain’s blessing, to impose a French protectorate on Morocco in 
compensation for her blunder, in a.d. 1882, in missing her opportunity 
to go into partnership with Great Britain in the occupation and control 
of Egypt; and in a.d. 1920 she had attacked and conquered Syria, with 
a mandate from the League of Nations, in compensation for having 
been attacked and all but conquered, herself, by Germany in the General 
War of a.d. 1914-18. Italy’s attack on the Ottoman Arab provinces in 
Libya in a.d. 1911, with the connivance of the other Great Powers, had 
likewise been delivered in compensation for the shortness of the measure 
which Italy had received in the partition of Tropical Africa between 
European Powers during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. 

On the same cynical principle of making the defenceless pay, the 
Zionists on the 14th May, 1948, had set up-a state of Israel in Palestine 
by force of arms in a war that had resulted in more than half a million 
Palestinian Arabs losing their homes, in compensation for atrocities 
committed against Jews in a.d. 1933-45, not > n the Levant, but in 
Europe, and not by Arabs, but by Germans. 2 The French in a.d. 1920 
could defend their act of aggression with a show of legality by exhibiting 

* See X. ix. ir. 

* See pp. 288-92, below—especially p. 290, nn. 1 and 3. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 259 

a licence from the League of Nations to violate the rights of the Arab 
people of Syria because other members of the League were feeling 
sympathy with France over her sufferings at Germany’s hands in the 
First World War, and because Great Britain, in particular, was grate¬ 
ful to France for having taken the brunt of the German attack on the 
Western allies, was uneasy in her conscience over having exercised her 
option to leave unratified a treaty, guaranteeing France in Europe, which 
she had signed on the 28th June, 1919, and was anxious to obtain the 
acquiescence of France in British ambitions at the expense of the Arab 
peoples of Palestine and 'Ir 5 q. By a similar operation of psychological 
forces the Zionists obtained a retrospective condonation from the 
United Nations Organization for their violation of the rights of the 
Arab people of Palestine 1 because the Western World as a whole was 
feeling sympathy with the Jews over their sufferings at Germany’s 
hands during the Second World War and the six years preceding its out¬ 
break, and because Westerners were ashamed that such atrocities should 
have been committed by a Western nation. The United States and the 
Soviet Union in a.d. 1948, like Great Britain in 1920, had an additional 
motive for condoning an act of injustice against an Arab people. In a.d. 
1948 the United States and the Soviet Union were competing for Jewish 
goodwill in a 'cold war’ which by that time they were waging with one 
another, as the Allied and Associated Powers had been competing with 
Germany for Jewish goodwill in the First World War at the time when 
the British Government had issued the Balfour Declaration and the 
American, French, and Italian Governments had adhered to it. 

An impartial non-Wcstcrn observer’s verdict would assuredly have 
been that, however grievously the Western peoples might have "sinned 
against one another and against the Jewish stranger in their midst, and 
however desirable it might be that they should make atonement at their 
own expense, there was neither merit nor justice in their compensating 
their victims at the expense of innocent third parties. As against Zionist 
and Western aggressors, the Arabs had an unanswerable moral case; but, 
with the exception of the ex-Ottoman Maghribls, 2 they could be criti¬ 
cized for their improvidence in having severed their political connexion 
with their Turkish fellow subjects of an Ottoman Padishah when they 
were as impotent to defend themselves unaided against aggression as 
they had been proved to be by the uniform sequel in the histories of 
Egypt, Palestine, the Lebanon, Syria, and 'Iraq; and they could be 
blamed much more severely for their moral failure in not having taken 
any serious steps to put their own house in order when, in the next 
chapter of the story, they had become masters of their own house at last. 

1 This was the moral implication of the admission of the State of Israel to membership 
in the United Nations on the nth May, 1949, three days before the first anniversary of 
the Zionists’ original act of aggression. 

* The Moroccans had always consistently played a lone hand, but the Algerines, 
Tunisians, and Tripolitanians, whose local 'Osmanli rulers had virtually ignored the 
suzerainty of the Porte in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, had followed their 
rulers from a.d. 1830 onwards in seeking to strengthen their links with the Ottoman 
Empire as a safeguard against the danger of Western imperialism which had been sud¬ 
denly and startlingly brought to their attention by the French occupation of Algiers (see 
p. 230, above). 



260 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
This stricture applied in particular to Egypt after the British recogni¬ 
tion of her independence, subject only to four reservations, on the 28th 
February, 1922;' to ‘Ir 5 q after the coming into force of the Anglo-'Iraqt 
treaty of the 30th June, 1930, through the admission of ‘Iraq to member¬ 
ship in the League of Nations on the 3rd October, 1932; and to Syria 
and the Lebanon after the rendition by the French of their Levantine 
mandates on the 3rd January, 1944. From those dates onwards, the 
ruling class in the principal Arab countries had been substantially free 
to grapple with domestic problems—economic, social, and political— 
and its failure to address itself to this urgent task was a more grievous 
sin against the Arabic Society, and a more dangerous threat to its sur¬ 
vival, than the blackest deeds of alien aggressors. This internal weakness 
was the cause of the Arab League’s egregious failure in a.d. 1948-9 to 
hold its own on the battlefield, and even to maintain a united political 
front, against an infant Israeli state which, on paper, was outmatched 
in strength singly by each of the Arab states nominally banded together 
against it. The ‘displacement’ of the Arab population of the greater part 
of Palestine was an Arab calamity that was the consequence of a Jewish 
offence; the other Arab peoples’ impotence to save their Palestinian 
brethren from this fate was an Arab humiliation that the Arabs had 
brought upon themselves. 

The military and political weakness exhibited by the Arab states under 
this test was a reflection of their social rottenness; this underlying evil 
was the responsibility of the ruling class; and this class could not 
plausibly plead, as an excuse for their sin of omission, that the task of 
social salvage was beyond their strength, considering the results achieved 
by the efforts of their counterparts in Turkey in the same generation. In 
Turkey and the ex-Ottoman Arab countries the twentieth-century ruling 
class was the heir of one and the same social heritage; and the social 
transformation that had been accomplished in Turkey in the quarter of 
a century opening in a.d. 1923 set a standard for these Arab countries 
which was as peremptory as it was reasonable. What Turkey had 
managed to achieve in her poverty was not too much to expect of 
Egypt, with her wealth in cotton, or of ‘Iraq, with her wealth in oil; and 
the presence here of these material resources offering ways and means, 
which a Turkish statesmanship might have envied, for carrying out a 
programme of social reform made the perpetuation in these Arab 
countries of gross economic inequalities between an affluent minority 
and an indigent mass far more invidious and explosive than it would have 
been if their latent riches had not been discovered and tapped. The one 

E lea open to the ex-Ottoman Arab ruling class was that its moral had 
een atrophied by a long bout of Western tutelage; but, except perhaps 
in the case of Egypt, which had been under British occupation for 
fifty-four years, this plea was conclusively rebutted by chronology, since 

' In A.D. 1952—between the date in a.d. 1949 when this passage had been written 
and the date at which it was being revised in galley proof—a coup d'ilat had been made 
in Egypt by a group of military officers, headed by General Najib ( Gallo-Acgyptiaci 
Neguib). In the autumn of a.d. 1952 it was not yet possible to forecast the prospects 
of the radical and comprehens ve programme for national regeneration which had 
been launched in Egypt by this revolutionary new regime. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 261 
all the states members of the Arab League that disputed the establish¬ 
ment of the state of Israel in a.d. 1948 were ex hypothesi then already 
independent, and none of these except Egypt had come under Western 
control before the final dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the First 
World War (gerebatur a.d. 1914-18), so that none of them except Egypt 
had been under Western tutelage for a longer spell than a quarter of a 
century. 

The Failure of a Turkish Committee of Union and Progress to Maintain the 
Ottoman Empire 

In Turkey, as we have noted, the drama of Westernization ran into 
a third and a fourth act which had no parallel in contemporary Arab 
history. 

The third act opened in Turkey on the 22nd-24th July, 1908, when 
on three consecutive days a hitherto subterranean Committee of Union 
and Progress raised the standard of revolt against ‘Abd-al-Hamid’s 
autocracy in the Macedonian garrison town of Resna, proclaimed at 
Salonica the re-establishment of the constitution of a.d. 1876, and 
compelled Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamld at Constantinople to ratify their 
revolutionary act. This attempt on the part of a second generation of 
'New ‘Osmanlis’ to save the Ottoman Empire’s existence by transform¬ 
ing it into a parliamentary constitutional state on a Western pattern was 
no more successful than the first; and this time it became manifest that 
the failure was due to an intrinsic flaw in the policy, for this time, when 
‘Abd-al-Hamid tried to repeat the counter-revolution which he had 
accomplished in a.d. 1877, he did not recover his autocratic power but 
forfeited his throne. From the deposition of‘Abd-al-Hamid in a.d. 1909 
to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in a.d. 1918, the responsibility 
for Turkey’s fortunes was on the heads of the Unionists. 

The fatal weakness of the ‘New ‘Osmanlis’ programme was that, in a 
multi-national empire whose peoples had been captivated by the Western 
political ideal of Nationalism, ‘union’ and ‘progress’ were incompatible 
objectives; and, when the pressure of events forced the party into making 
a choice, they sacrificed an attainable progress to the forlorn hope of 
still saving an untenable union. A twentieth-century Ottoman Empire 
stood no better a chance than a twentieth-century Hapsburg Monarchy 
of being converted into a Switzerland writ large; and the fraternization 
between members of long discordant millets in the first moment of 
excitement and relief at a sudden unexpected release from the common 
yoke of ‘Abd-al-Hamid’s tyranny was proved by its brevity to be a 
political mirage. On second thoughts the members of the non-Muslim 
communities reverted to a disbelief, born of melancholy experience, in 
the possibility of their ever being admitted to any genuine equality under 
the Ottoman flag with their Turkish masters; and, even if they had been 
convinced that this miracle would come to pass, it may be doubted 
whether, when it came to the point, they would have been willing to 
sacrifice to an ideal of Ottoman fraternity their hopes of being eventually 
re-united with their already independent brethren in separate national 
states of their own. By a.d. 1908 these feelings had come to be shared 



262 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
with the non-Muslim Greek, Serb, Bulgar, and Armenian subjects of 
the Ottoman Empire by the non-Turkish Muslim Arabs, Albanians, 
and Kurds. In these circumstances the Empire could be held together 
only by force majeure, and, to hold it by force, an Hamidian tyranny 
would have to be reimposed by the Turks alone on all their non-Turkish 
fellow Ottomans, Muslims as well as Christians. 

Desperate though it was, this tour de force was nevertheless attempted 
by the Committee of Union and Progress, and a folly which cannot be 
condoned can at least be explained. 

In the first place the Ottoman Empire was still in being, and few 
imperial peoples had ever had the strength of mind, which the British 
were to show in a . d . 1947, to give up an untenable empire voluntarily 
without waiting for it to be wrested from them. The Committee of 
Union and Progress spent seven of their ten years of grace in waging 
ruinous wars against irresistible aggressors: a war with Italy ( gerebatur 
a.d. 1911—13) which failed to save Tnpolitania and Cyrcnaica; a war with 
the Balkan States ( gerebatur a . d . 1912-13) which failed to save anything 
in Rumclia beyond the western suburbs of Adrianople; and a war with 
the Powers of the Entente {gerebatur a . d . 1914-18) which dealt the 
Ottoman Empire its coup degrdee after having been wantonly undertaken 
in the ill-conceived hope that, with Germany’s aid, this military adven¬ 
ture might compensate Turkey for her losses in Rumelia by enabling 
her to recover Egypt and other ex-Ottoman Arab territories in Africa 
and to win territories inhabited by non-Ottoman Turkish peoples in 

the Russian Empire which had never been under Ottoman rule. 1 

A second reason why the Committee of Union and Progress sacrificed 
the national interests of the Turkish people in a losing battle to main¬ 
tain the Ottoman Empire was that the strength of the party was drawn 
from the Macedonian remnant of the Rumeliot Turkish ‘ascendancy’. The 
party headquarters were at Salonica; 2 the backing in the Army, which 
made the revolution of a . d . 1908 practicable, came from officers of the 
Macedonian garrison; and an anxiety for the preservation of Ottoman 
sovereignty over Macedonia determined the date of the pronunciamiento 
—for Tal'at’s and Enver’s revolution in a . d . 1908 was precipitated, like 
the abortive revolutions of Midhat Pasha at Constantinople in a . d . 1876 

» The Pan-Turanian idea (see p. ini, n. 2, above), which was taken up by ‘the Young 
Turks’ (as ‘the New ‘Osmanlis’ may be styled without inaccuracy in this context) during 
the Russo-Turkish war of a.d. 1914-18, and for which Enver Pasha eventually gave his 
life on a battlefield in Soviet Russian Central Asia, had originated as a jtu d'espnt in the 
mind of an imaginative French Consul-General at Salonica, who had coined a ‘Pan- 
Turanianism’ on the analogy of an already current ‘Pan-Germanism’ and ‘Pan-Slavism’ 
(see Cahun, L^on: Introduction d VHistoire de I'Asie (Paris 1896, Colin)). 

2 Salonica was well qualified for serving as a centre for a Westernizing Turkish 
political movement at this stage of Ottoman history. It was free from the incubus of 
the classical Ottoman regime which was still weighing heavily on Constantinople. It was 
the regional capital of the remnant of Rumelia, whose Turkish inhabitants were the 
most energetic and progressive element in the Turkish population of the Ottoman 
Empire. The Salonican Turks were linked, through the Dbnmc, with their Sephardi 
Jewish fellow townsmen, who had been kept in touch with the Modem Western World 
by their Spanish origin and their commercial interests (sec II. ii. 246-7). And, finally, 
Salonica, like Constantinople, had been linked up with Continental Western Europe by 
rail. The writer remembers the impression made on him, on his first visit to Salonica in 
June 1912, as his ship approached the quay, by the sight of Hungarian, Austrian, and 
German railway wagons standing there. 



THE MODERN WEST AND ISLAM 263 

and 'Ar 5 bi Pasha at Cairo in a.d. 1882, by a fear that the overthrow of a 
native autocracy might be anticipated by a foreign intervention to which 
Macedonia seemed to be more imminently exposed in a . d . 1908 than 
any other outlying part of the Ottoman Empire of that date. 

The Success of Mustafa Kemal Atatiirk in Creating a Turkish National 
State 

On the 23rd July, 1919, when Mustafa Kemal repeated at Erzerum 
the pronunciamiento made by Enver and Niazi at Resna on the 22nd July, 
1908, the prospects for Turkey appeared, on a superficial view, to have 
changed radically to her disadvantage. The Padishah whom a mutinous 
officer was defying in a . d . 1919 was not, like ‘Abd-al-Hamid, an autocrat 
fighting for his own hand; he was a puppet in the hands of a victorious 
coalition of foreign Powers which had just overthrown not only Turkey 
but her mighty ally Germany; and the spur which had goaded Mustafa 
Kemal into hoisting his revolutionary colours was not the menace of 
foreign aggression against an outlying territory where the Turkish 
element in the population was in a minority; it was the accomplished 
fact of a Greek invasion—sponsored by Great Britain, France, and the 
United States—of a predominantly Turkish Anatolia. As it turned out, 
however, these grim circumstances were so many blessings in disguise, 
since they inspired the Rumeliot leaders of a new Turkish Westernizing 
movement with the strength of mind at last to have the full courage of 
their convictions, and moved the mass of the Turkish people in Anatolia 
for the first time readily to follow a revolutionary westward lead as the 
only remaining chance of saving themselves from a now imminent 
threat of annihilation. This intellectual and emotional revolution fired 
a new-born Turkish nation to a high pitch of heroism and a degree of 
psychic and social malleability that proved more than a match for the 
adversities by which this spirit had been evoked. The heroism displayed 
itself in a decisive victory in a battle for national survival against 
apparently hopeless odds in the years a.d. 1919-22; the malleability in a 
still more hardly won success in a long-drawn-out struggle for national 
regeneration. 

The new ideas and aims of Mustafa Kem 3 l and his companions were 
proclaimed in a ‘National Pact’ that was adopted on the 28th January, 
1920, by the Ottoman Parliament at Constantinople. The key-note—and 
the strength—of the new policy was a resolve to abandon wild-goose 
chases and to concentrate on the whole-hearted pursuit of practicable 
objectives; and the ability to take this resolve was a priceless gain which 
the Turkish Nationalists owed to their ‘New ‘Osmanli’ predecessors’ 
staggering losses. To renounce the ambition of recovering sovereignty 
over ex-Ottoman territories inhabited by a majority of Arabs or a 
majority of Orthodox Christians that had already been lost by a.d. 1920 
was less difficult than it had been to abandon the will to retain sover¬ 
eignty over those territories while they were still, however precariously, 
in Turkey’s possession. To dismiss the Pan-Turanian dream of a 
compensatory empire to be carved out of Turkish territories in the 
Caucasus and Central Asia at Russia’s expense was likewise less difficult 



264 ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES 
now that Turkey and Russia were no longer at war with one another but 
were companions in defeat, with the consequence in Russia that the 
fallen Tsardom had been replaced by a Communist regime which, like 
the Turkish National Movement in a.d. 1920, was a target of Western 
hostility and was accordingly disposed to make common cause with the 
Turkish Nationalists in their parallel struggle for existence. In this new 
situation the Turkish Nationalists resolutely turned away from a vision¬ 
ary Pan-Turanian future as well as from an irretrievable Ottoman past, 
and addressed themselves to the task of carving a Turkish national 
successor-state of the Ottoman Empire out of Ottoman territories with 
a Turkish majority in their population, with a view to building up the 
life of this new Turkish nation on completely Western foundations. 

It will be seen that this programme was a Turkish counterpart of 
programmes that the ex-Ottoman Orthodox Christian peoples had been 
carrying out by degrees for more than a hundred years past; and this 
likeness was not accidental; it was due to a deliberate adoption, by the 
leaders of the new Turkish National Movement, of a policy which, 
within their own lifetimes, had served their Orthodox Christian neigh¬ 
bours well at Turkey’s expense. This spectacle had made a vivid impres¬ 
sion on the imagination of the Turkish Nationalist leaders because they 
had seen it at close quarters; for the moving spirits in the Nationalist 
Movement were ex-Unionists who, like the moving spirits on the Com¬ 
mittee of Union and Progress during the years a.d. 1908-18, were 
Macedonian Turks. Mustafa Kemal—whose beard, if he had worn one, 
would have been as blond as Mchmcd ‘All’s- came from Salonica; 
Fethi came from Uskub; but, in and after a.d. 1919, these Rumcliot 
Turkish nationalists showed their mettle by refusing to allow their 
policy to be governed by a nostalgia for a Macedonian fatherland that 
Tal'at and Enver had failed to save. They eschewed the perversity of the 
Macedonian Turkish Unionists who had sacrificed Turkey in a vain 
attempt to save Macedonia, and the even greater perversity of the 
Macedonian Bulgar nationalist refugees who had sacrificed Bulgaria in 
a vain attempt to reconquer Macedonia from a Bulgarian base of opera¬ 
tions. Mustafa Kem 5 l and his Macedonian Turkish nationalist com¬ 
panions stoically turned their backs on a beloved Rumelian homeland, 
which had once been the heart of the Ottoman Empire, in order to 
bring to life a new Turkish nation in an outlandish Anatolia 1 whose 

* The strength and persistence of these Rumcliot Turkish exiles’ homesickness was 
borne in upon the writer of this Study on the i ith November, 1948, when, on the west 
bank of the River Jeyhun, in the lowlands of Cilicia, in the south-eastern comer of 
Anatolia, he was spending a day with the ex-Rumeliot Turkish owner and operator of 
an orange plantation. This alert, progressive, and sanguine-minded Cilician planter was 
justifiably proud of